Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Where things are worse...

"Things are worse in the Middle East. Studies by the FAO have shown that the region imports more than 50pc of its consumed calories every year. This proportion is expected to increase substantially as its population rises.
According to the CIA World Factbook, a staggering 38pc of people in Saudi Arabia are under the age of 14, compared with just 16.5pc in the UK. This difference in demographics between the region and the West is why the population is rising faster. In the UK, the population growth rate is just 0.28pc, compared with 3.56pc in the United Arab Emirates, 3.5pc in Kuwait and 2.71pc in Yemen.
The reason that the Middle East has to import half of its food from abroad is because of its lack of water.
One tonne of grain requires 1,000 tonnes of water and, according to Standard Chartered's analysis, with agricultural production currently consuming 70pc of all freshwater available globally.
The Middle East may have a lot of oil – but it does not have much water. Recent price spikes have raised concerns about food inflation in the short term. It's likely that prices will ease because global stocks of wheat are not as tight as the recent jump in futures contracts would imply.
However, the fear of food shortages has emerged for good reason – you should expect prices to be on a slow trend upward for many years to come. But the real concern should be for those living in rapidly gentrifying areas of Asia and the Middle East."


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