Like Australia. We are seen as one big empty food bowl. That we fail to utilise. Our food production, especially in light of the increase diversion of food stuffs to biofuels was very poor this year. Several years of drought affected poor wheat harvests and virtually NO rice production since 2003.
Queensland MP, Bill Heffernan is lobbying for the northern states to become the farms of the nation. Ploughing under the wilderness. In the USA, Obama and the Democrats have a very protect local farmers policy which has ramifications globally on food prices and shortages. But that is unlikely to change with the mini financial crisis.
So where to? Lack of technological advances in food technology internally (modified foods banned) or making too expensive to use externally (ie. golden rice too expensive for asian countries to plant) are to blame, alongside the diversion of food to fuel and the increased population.
The increased population of the world is also increasingly fond of protein, which demands more acres to produce per kilojoule (grain acres PLUS meat acres).
great illustration by Harry Afentoglou to accompany article by Paul Myers December 6, 2008