Unprecedented floods shocking food prices on world market
Flooding has significantly impacted farmland in at least four countries
First floods, then disease, and now -- famine. Today, because of severe flooding in Southeast Asia, food prices throughout the region are expected to skyrocket, putting millions at risk.
Unprecedented flooding in Thailand has destroyed both homes and crops putting millions at risk of famine.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 12 percent of Thailand's farmland has been destroyed. Across the border, 12 percent of Cambodia's farmland is also believed to have been damaged. Vietnam is reporting 7.5 percent of its farmland ruined. In the Philippines, 6 percent of the rice farmland is reported to be damaged.
Undoubtedly, these are significant numbers that will affect food security throughout that region of the world for the next year to come.
Particularly disconcerting, is that this region has never seen such widespread destruction of its farmland. While it is common for some farmland to be damaged each year during the monsoons, never before in recorded history has so much farmland and destroyed in one region of the world. The scale of the disaster is literally unprecedented.
Experts are predicting a shortage of rice will shock the region and reverberate throughout world markets. Currently, the price of rice is approximately $650 per ton but is forecast to easily reach $750 per ton and may reach record high levels near $1,000 per ton that recently set in 2008. How high the prices go will depend on the regional governments which heavily subsidize rice production. Because of the subsidies, it's likely that the full force and effect of these losses will not immediately hit consumers.
Naturally, many scientists are blaming global warming and warning people to expect more of the same in the years to come. Governments are being asked to consider long-term strategies to deal with food shocks that are predicted to become more commonplace as global temperatures rise and weather turns violent.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: flooding, rice, prices, markets, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand
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