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Food Crisis - Guest - 08-08-2009

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Monsoon 25% down, food, water crises loom</b>
Santanu Banerjee | New Delhi
With three consecutive phases of monsoon failure, the UPA Government has decided to take up the issue of emerging crisis-like situation in food scenario with Chief Ministers and top State Government officials.

According to the data released by the Ministry of Earth Sciences on the basis of India Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin on Friday, there has been a trend of weakening of monsoon, which has witnessed a departure of 25 per cent (deficient) from long period average (LPA) prediction. <b>The deficiency is spread over four broad homogeneous regions in the country over a period calculated from June 1 to August 5</b>.

The IMD bulletin has shown that from July 30 to August 5 the country as a whole recorded minus 64 per cent rainfall. This, coupled with shooting prices of essential commodities, has brought bad tidings for the Government, despite Agriculture Ministry’s claim of a comfort situation as last year there was a bumper crop.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It also said that the trend deteriorated from deficient to s<b>canty rainfall condition over Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi and from normal to deficient condition over Jammu & Kashmir, West and East Rajasthan, West Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat region, Vidarbha and Chhattisgarh</b>.’<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Food Crisis - Guest - 08-17-2009

<b>Time for action, not words</b>
Arun Nehru<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The political honeymoon is over for the UPA Government. The poor monsoon and its effect on the economy will take some time to be fully understood. The Government’s skill in managing this crisis is crucial. We will no doubt have a fair amount of doom and gloom situation as everyone with a negative bias towards the Government will tend to exaggerate the crisis. According to current indications, o<b>ur GDP growth rate may drop from 6.5 per cent to six per cent, while agriculture output may go down by five per cent and trigger shortages that could be artificially aggravated</b>. In such a scenario price rise is inevitable. <b>On the supply side, marginal farmers will be worst hit. Increased Government expenditure in the drought-ravaged areas is inevitable and this will certainly be a strain on our resources</b>.

The Government should take a positive approach to deal with the situation. We have had two super harvests before this and the Government, at least in theory, has a large stockpile of food grains. Therefore, we should have no shortages of either rice or wheat, while shortages in edible oil and any other food product can be mitigated through imports. It is unfortunate that when a crisis is upon us, then we start thinking of possible solutions. But good governance demands that we be prepared for such crises beforehand. The Government and we as responsible citizens can start acting in a meaningful manner by harvesting water, storing and recycling wherever possible and by initiating cost effective measures such as avoiding wastage of water and electricity in industry and our homes.

There is always the possibility of the monsoon picking up in late August and September but media reports indicate that the predictions on the El Nino effect from the US Climate Center are not very good. <b>I wonder why we cannot have an accurate forward projection on this from our Met Department. The media reporting has been very patchy and this is primarily because the data it is given is rather vague.</b>

We are generally good in dealing with crisis situations as we have faced many before. But there is a difference between dealing with a situation with an action plan already in hand and reacting in panic. We have dealt with droughts before. It is time we develop a proper response system to them.

On the other hand, <b>the Government must take ruthless measures against black-marketers and hoarders and use every law in the book to punish them. We can already see an upward trend in the prices of essential commodities as the demand and supply ratio is being negatively affected by news of a weak monsoon. </b>The Government will have to display a great deal of deft in releasing buffer stocks of wheat and rice to prevent their prices from increasing. The Union Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mr Sharad Pawar, will have much to do. Hopefully, cricket is not going to be a priority for him in 2009. Politics for the next couple of months will take a backseat and we must wish the Governments both at the Centre and in the States well as they tackle the drought situation.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Food Crisis - Guest - 08-25-2009

<b>India To Go Hungry</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Years have passed since investors seemed to pay attention to anything other than the latest short-term, but irrelevant, number of the day.  Perhaps the ESPN approach being applied to business news is part of the reason for that. What might happen next week or next year seems of little concern. However, next week and next year have a habit of becoming today over time.

Sometimes though, short-term events, being largely ignored,  unveil longer term developments. One of those might be the drought currently ravaging India's farmers. Summer monsoons provide more than half of the rainfall in much of India. Indian Agri-Food production is uniquely dependent on those annual rains. This year those rains have not come as expected. Rainfall is about a third less than normal. Agri-Food production will suffer in India as the summer rains are critical to India's Agri-Food production. Rice production, a major staple, will fall by more than 10%.

<b>With only a little more than a month of rice consumption in storage, food shortages are likely in India. The Indian government, in typical denial of reality,</b> says that they will simply buy what is needed in global markets. Global Agri-Food markets are seen by many governments as a pantry to be opened any time the need arises. Those inevitable purchases of Agri-Foods by India can only increase the global prices of Agri-Foods.

<b>India's reliance on imported Agri-Foods due to this year's poor monsoons is part of a longer term problem. India's system of providing water to agriculture is inadequate to insure sufficient future Agri-Food production to feed a growing population. India simply will not be able to feed its future population with today's water management system.</b>

Most astute investors have already moved to protect their wealth with Gold. <b>Given the size of the Obama Regime's deficit to be monetized by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the value of the dollar can only deteriorate. The flip side of a falling U.S. dollar is a rising value for Gold. That same tsunami of dollars will push up the prices for Agri-Foods as the world moves toward the biological brick wall. Most Agri-Foods are priced in dollars. Now that you have your defensive investments in Gold, the time may have arrived for an offensive component, Agri-Food investments</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Food Crisis - Guest - 09-02-2009

<b>Stocks low, imported sugar will be costly</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said on Tuesday that India would  be starting the next sugar season — sugar follows its own cycle — with a wafer-thin stock position, which means India will be importing heavily.

And <b>this imported sugar will cost around Rs 40 a kg — compared to Rs 30 now </b>(the commonly available packaged sugar) — when it lands next season, more than double from a year earlier, according to Jayantilal B. Patel, president of the National Federation of Co-operative Sugar Factories.

But Pawar was optimistic. <b>“It is expected that…steps (taken by government) would supplement the country’s availability of sugar during 2009-2010 as well as control the prices within reasonable limit,”</b> he said.

Though he did not put a number to the shortfall, it could be between 3.5 and 4 million tonnes, according to an official source. Private manufacturers said, on condition of anonymity, it could be even higher.

Hindustan Times had reported last week that India’s sugar stocks had hit rock bottom at about 4.5 million tonnes.

<b>India is now shopping abroad, and being the world’s largest consumer of sugar, it pushed up raw sugar futures to a 28-year-high in the international commodities market.</b>

Pawar usual practice -
First create scarcity and then import and then make  money both way.

<b>In a later evening development, the government decided to supply 2 kg sugar extra to each below-poverty-line family in Septembe</b>r.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Food Crisis - Guest - 12-28-2009

[url=""]Global Food Crisis 2010 Means Financial Armageddon[/url]

Food Crisis - Guest - 03-31-2010

[url=""]India’s mountains of shame[/url]
Quote:Covered by plastic sheets in a football-field-sized area, the black mountain is a formidable presence amid the rolling fields of wheat ripening under a warm March sun.

Under its tarpaulin sheets, Fatehgarh Sahib’s mountain, 40 km west of state capital Chandigarh, stores wheat harvested three years ago.

The wheat bags have holes and rats run riot. This is part of India’s federal reserve of grain, to be stocked in a warehouse to feed the poor.

Out in the open, it quietly turns to garbage in a granary state that has more hungry people than 33 developing countries.

As India prepares for a record 2010 wheat harvest, many times more than the nation’s needs, the field of grain here in the eastern district of Fatehgarh Sahib is one of hundreds across Punjab. The black mountain — if it doesn’t completely rot away — holds enough grain to feed 300,000 people.

It hides the nation’s inability to store its plentiful food, one of the challenges ahead for Congress President Sonia Gandhi as she prepares to pilot a national effort to get food to the poor where and when they need it.

The annual test begins on April 1 as procurement, the process of buying foodgrain from farmers for national food stocks, begins at Ludhiana’s Khanna Mandi, Asia’s biggest grain market.

The portents for this year are as grim as ever. Officials expect 11 million tonnes of wheat from a bumper harvest from Punjab alone. With the state's storage capacity being 18 million tonnes (of which space for 13 million tonnes is already occupied), Punjab needs to create room for 6 million tonnes.

Across India, unless the government finds a solution, rot and rodents will claim 20 million tonnes, or a tenth of the total harvest.

These lost grains are keeping millions hungry: India ranks 66 out of 88 countries on the 2008 Global Hunger Index.

“We are doing our best to prevent further damage,” said Rattan Mittal, general manager, procurement, Punjab Agro Ltd, one of seven agencies that buy wheat and rice for the Food Corporation of India (FCI), which never moved the mountain at Fatehgarh Sahib for distribution.

Mittal said Punjab Agro hopes to hire panchayat (village council) land to store the grain that will spill out of warehouses this year.

Nearly 20 km north of Fatehgarh Sahib, a whole stadium-sized depot of openly stored grains risks contamination from a junkyard of food debris. Punjab stores 80 per cent of its grain in the open, said Mittal.

Getting the math right

How much foodgrain does India waste every year?

The FCI, the government company that manages foodstocks, isn’t particularly willing to answer that.

It took a right-to-information query in 2008 to force an answer: between 1997 and 2007, more than 1.3 million tonnes of grain (130,000 truckloads) decayed in storage. The government spent Rs 2.59 crore just to get rid of the rotten food.

The problem is more formidable today. India’s federal reserve of foodgrain is about 45 million tonnes, double the stocks held last year and 17 million tonnes more than FCI’s storage capacity.

“Obviously, this is much more than what is needed,” said Ashok Gulati, Asia director of the International Food Policy Research Institute. “Stocks kept in the open without proper care lead to unacceptably large wastages.”

If the stocks were to be distributed, every Indian, all 1.1 billion of us, would get 45 kg.

State-run companies and cooperatives have a capacity to hold about 109.2 million tonnes and need an additional 35 million tonnes of space to fill the gap with an investment of Rs 7,687 crore, according to the Planning Commission.

It costs the FCI Rs 15,000 to buy and store a tonne of wheat; Rs 19,000 for rice.

“So, 1 million tonnes wasted means a loss of at least Rs 1,500 crore for wheat and Rs 1,900 crore for rice,” said Gulati.

In July 2002, government agencies ended up with 63 million tonnes of foodgrain. It had to provide subsidies so the grain could be exported. Grain export is at present banned because last year’s drought and soaring prices led to an 11-year high in food inflation, 19.95 per cent on December 5, 2009. It’s 16 per cent today.

Experts say the government urgently needs to invest in modern storage, or failing that, throw open the doors to the private sector, or both.

Until then? Here’s Gulati’s prescription: Distribute the surplus grains to more people at subsidised prices, not just to those below the poverty line. That’s a better solution than letting grain rot in a country hungry for food.

(The Hunger Project is a Hindustan Times effort to track, investigate and report every aspect of the struggle to rid India of hunger. You can read previous stories in this series at

Congress plant article to prop up Sonia image.

Food Crisis - Guest - 04-05-2010

[url=""]Not enough food, so children learn to eat mud[/url]
Quote:As top officials from multiple ministries worked over the weekend re-crafting a draft legislation deemed inadequate to deliver food to the poorest, a grim reminder of the depth of deprivation in India emerged from its most populous state.

It is people like these that Congress President and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi wants covered by a national Food Security Bill. That is why she pushed the UPA’s top ministers back to the drawing board after rejecting last week a draft about to be presented to the Cabinet.Frail, malnourished children eating moist lumps of mud laced with silica — a raw material for glass sheets and soap — because they are not officially classified as poor and so ineligible for official help: This is what an HT reporter saw in a village of eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Under an unusually hot April sun, skinny, hungry children silently poked around on the dusty edges of a stone quarry in Ganne village, 45 km east of Allahabad and a 12-km walk from the nearest road.

“It tastes like powdered gram, so we eat it,” said Soni (5), a listless girl with a protruding belly. With most families reduced to one or two daily meals of boiled rice and salt — with a watery vegetable on a lucky day — the mud is a free but deadly option at the 20 stone quarries sustaining the poorest villagers.

These families are not eligible for subsidised food and other state programmes, though each of a family of five earns about Rs 400 a month.

Looks like a plant story.

Food Crisis - Bharatvarsh2 - 04-05-2010

All these "schemes" begin with planting stories in the media and then rushing forward as the savior of the poor.

This is just another socialist scheme that will end up as a way for useless babus to make money like so many other schemes dreamt up by the Indian gov't.

Of course they will never change the socialist economic policies that are responsible for making these people poor.

Food Crisis - Guest - 04-05-2010

Socialism is killing India's growth and potential.

These food policies just creates parasites, and expansion of Babudom.

Food Crisis - Capt M Kumar - 04-18-2010

With the latest population estimates, there are around 23.5 crore families in India, out of which the BPL component could be 8.74 crore families if one uses the Tendulkar Committee’s estimates of poverty or 11.75 crore families if one considers the N C Saxena Committee’s number. The required amount of food grain, thus, ranges between 37 million tonnes and 49 million tonnes if 35 kg of grain is given to these families every month in a year. Clearly, the grain requirement is well within the likely buffer stocks with the government.

With such potential plenty, why then should there be pervasive hunger? The passage of the food security bill could be a favourable juncture for the FCI to invest in proper storage facilities to bring down wastage of food grain. The time has run out for letting grain rot with impunity while hunger stalks the land.

The author is Professor of Economics and International Business at IILM Institute of Higher Learning

Food Crisis - Capt M Kumar - 04-19-2010

[quote name='Capt M Kumar' date='18 April 2010 - 03:27 AM' timestamp='1271540953' post='105955']

With the latest population estimates, there are around 23.5 crore families in India, out of which the BPL component could be 8.74 crore families if one uses the Tendulkar Committee’s estimates of poverty or 11.75 crore families if one considers the N C Saxena Committee’s number. The required amount of food grain, thus, ranges between 37 million tonnes and 49 million tonnes if 35 kg of grain is given to these families every month in a year. Clearly, the grain requirement is well within the likely buffer stocks with the government.

With such potential plenty, why then should there be pervasive hunger? The passage of the food security bill could be a favourable juncture for the FCI to invest in proper storage facilities to bring down wastage of food grain. The time has run out for letting grain rot with impunity while hunger stalks the land.

The author is Professor of Economics and International Business at IILM Institute of Higher Learning


Food Crisis - Capt M Kumar - 04-20-2010

If wheat and rice were the harbingers of the first green revolution, maize might play a similar role in bringing about the much-needed second green revolution. In fact, indications to this effect are already there. While the productivity of wheat and rice has plateaued, that of maize has grown by a whopping 27 per cent between 2003-04 and 2008-09. The maize plant is inherently a more efficient converter of energy and nutrition into biomass, including grain. This crop, therefore, is capable of delivering higher tonnage per hectare than wheat and rice even with lower inputs.

Food Crisis - Guest - 07-01-2010

[url=""]Monsoon slowing down, govt worried[/url]
Quote:A sluggish monsoon — 21 per cent deficient in the week ending June 23 — has stalled mid-way and is unlikely to progress into India's grain bowl of Punjab, Haryana and UP before July 4, as farm ministry officials look on nervously.

Overall, between June 1 and now, falls have been up to 13 per cent less, a weather official estimated.

The patchy rains have prompted the farm ministry to keep crop-rescue plans ready, with the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) saying if rains don't return to normal around July 5, crops in north India could suffer.

The UPA government is hedging on adequate rains to offset losses from last year's drought — the worst in three decades — and also to curb food inflation of nearly 17 per cent.

Abnormal delay in rains for north India will start affecting mainly sugar and paddy crops, as UP is India's largest sugar-producing state and together with Punjab, Haryana and Bihar, accounts for bulk of rice output.

A weather review meeting has been called for July 5 by the top farm expert body.

"Any delay beyond July 4 will certainly affect both crop output and cost of production for farmers,

Food Crisis - Guest - 11-10-2010

[url=""]Rice exports[/url]
Quote:New Delhi, Nov. 9 (PTI): The food and consumer affairs ministry today said it had turned down requests from Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to resume non-basmati rice exports.

The government had banned the export of non-basmati rice in April 2008 to stabilise prices in the domestic market and maintain sufficient stocks to ensure food security in the country.

Private companies created by Pawar are selling through private channels and minting money. Only farmers are suffering.

Food Crisis - Guest - 01-17-2011

[url=""]The Indian Food Crisis In One Simple Chart[/url]

It shows quite straightforwardly the disconnect between the growth in wealth over the years (the blue line) and the availability of foodgrains per capita.

[Image: chart.png]

This doesn't explain, say, the surge in onions or tomatoes, but it does factor heavily in the price of meat, eggs, etc.

For a look at some eye-popping inflation numbers, see here:

[Image: india-food.png]

Food Crisis - dhu - 01-19-2011

[url=""]Cabinet to consider 51 p.c. FDI in multi-brand retail[/url]

Move follows “feedback” from State governments

NEW DELHI: With the recent uproar on rising food and vegetables prices providing a handy trigger, the Manmohan Singh Government is all set to give its approval to 51 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the multi-brand retail sector with the Commerce and Industry Ministry likely to move a Cabinet note next week.

Highly placed sources in the Ministry said the move to open up the multi-brand retail sector, a politically sensitive issue, comes following “feedback” received from State governments which have argued that allowing foreign investment in retail would improve the required infrastructure and provide a remunerative price to farmers for their produce.

What has also emboldened the Centre is that the Narendra Modi Government in Gujarat and the Akali-BJP alliance Government in Punjab are in favour of opening up the sector despite the BJP's opposition to this policy at the national level.

“We have firmed up our views on the issue and are likely to move a Cabinet note later this week or early next week proposing allowing of 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail,” a senior official explained to The Hindu. “The note will be sent to various Ministries for their comments and then ....

Food Crisis - ramana - 01-20-2011

So the onion price rise was engineered to allow this FDI increase. Note how quickly it disappeared. it was to force the state govts to agree lest they become election victims of onion prices.

Food Crisis - Guest - 01-20-2011

[quote name='ramana' date='20 January 2011 - 01:50 AM' timestamp='1295467973' post='110321']

So the onion price rise was engineered to allow this FDI increase. Note how quickly it disappeared. it was to force the state govts to agree lest they become election victims of onion prices.


Congress had used this tool millions of time. Now a days, cardamom hoarding by India, which had increased world wide price, same is with lentils and rice. I think farmers will lose big time, first by infection in stored goods and slum in price. How long they can store stuff, when they don't have proper storage facilities. Farmers suicide is again orchestrated by state. Next we will see land grab by FDI retail. It is already happening in Harayana and Punjab.

Today's spot price

MCX Cardamom Future Price

SymbolUnitExpiry DatePrice

CARDAMOM1 KGS15 Feb, 2011 1515

CARDAMOM1 KGS15 Mar, 2011 1572

CARDAMOM1 KGS15 Apr, 2011 1603

CARDAMOM1 KGS14 May, 2011 1581.6

Quote:Kerala is the main producer of cardamom and contributes up to 60% in total production. During 2007, nearly 600 ton cardamom was produced, and this is expected to increase to 720 ton in 2008 due to good weather conditions. Plucking starts in July and August which continues till December. If weather remains unfavourable, plucking and production reduces. Arrival of good quality of 6 mm and 8 mm gets momentum during third and forth rounds of plucking.


Karnataka produces around 25% cardamom of total production. In 2007, nearly 250 ton cardamom was produced here. It is expected to increase to 300 ton during 2008. Karnataka quality is also known as Mansoor which is a low grade quality. Mainly masala manufacturers buy it as its rate remains low then other quality products. It is cultivated nearby place of Medikary.

Tamil Nadu

Ooty is the main producer of cardamom which contributes around 10-15% in total production. During 2008, around 150-200 ton cardamom is expected to produce here which is moderately up than last years’ production figure.

When production is so good, why price is going up?

In 2008 price was

[Image: M_Id_72531_head.jpg]

Currently, world is under recession.

[url=""] Speculators ruling the market now [/url]

[url=""]Cardamom price surges further[/url]
Quote:It is reported that the production in Guatemala in 2010 would be about 20,000 tonnes, which will be no way near their peak production of 30,000 tonnes in 2004/2005.

According to the latest estimates by the spices Board of India, India's production in 2010-11 is estimated to be almost at the same level of last year i.e. 10,350 tonnes.

It has been a phenomenal year for cardamom farmers as returns broke all previous records. Auction prices consistently remained above Rs 1,000 per kg after February, and the total volume in auctions crossed 10,000 tonne between the period of July 2009 and May 2010.

Arrivals are thinning out while demand, both from the international and domestic markets, continues to be good and robust, traders said.

Cardamom prices touched Rs 1,329.21 per kg during the week ended May 22 as against Rs 1,253.16 during the previous week.

Prices during the third week of April were at Rs 1,087.55 compared with Rs 609.35 in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

Food Crisis - Guest - 02-11-2011

[url=""]Why U.S. farm policy caused Egypt crisis[/url]
Quote:Egypt is among the world’s largest importers of wheat. When such commodity prices rise due to U.S. subsidy and tariff intervention, as well as speculation in the capital markets, the price of bread skyrockets. Bread is made from wheat.

In 2008, food riots broke out in Egypt, Mexico, Bangladesh and many developing countries when farmers, attracted to ethanol subsidies, abandoned food production in favor of fuel. This, along with rising oil prices, droughts, and other factors, decreased food supplies. Prices spiked.

Adding to the crisis was U.S. trade policy: Because we subsidize wheat, corn and a handful of other crops so much, we can offer them cheaper on the world market and “dump” supplies on other countries. This puts farmers in those countries out of business, as they are forced to compete with artificially low prices at the market.

Go back a little further in time in Egypt and the roots of the political crisis can be found with its 1992 land reform. Guided by what many say was U.S. and International Monetary Fund influence, the country’s small farmers who were “registered tenants” became subject to rent increases, in many cases triple what they had been paying.

As expected, these small farmers couldn’t afford the steep rent increases and were forced off their land. More than half of all Egyptians live in the countryside, and millions were forced into poverty. Moreover, Egypt itself became more reliant on imports.

Food Crisis - Guest - 02-23-2011

[url=""]25 nations where high food prices could crush governments[/url]