Third Tithe, Banking Crisis, Food Crisis the Silent Famine

Joseph F. Dumond

Isa 6:9-12 And He said, Go, and tell this people, You hear indeed, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not know. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back, and be healed. Then I said, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities are wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land laid waste, a desolation, and until Jehovah has moved men far away, and the desolation in the midst of the land is great.
Published: Apr 19, 2008
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Sighted Moon News Letter 5843-059 2733
27th day of the Thirteenth month 5843 After Creation

April 5, 2008

Shabbat Shalom Family,
Once again this week there are many things to share. We only had one person admit they could not count to three, after last weeks News Letter. This is good.
Another brother from Kenya has written asking to learn more about the Holy Days. I do not know what to do at this time, about going there. Your Prayers are welcome. I am truly wrestling with this.
Wonderful teachings in your web site.

I am John from kenya i have read your web site, i have learned new more especially when you talking about the lords feasts, now my question is how can we get this message to our people, also it will be a blessing to us when will get a proper understanding, please let me know from how you will help us. Your brother John.
I had another brother write and at first he did not want to believe any of things I am saying on the web site. I wrote back to him and suggested a couple of other articles and he responded with the following.

Thank you for the article – it was indeed intriguing.
And thanks for taking the time to share your responses to my comments with me… I’ll consider this further in light of all scripture and evidence.
Sorry for my stubborn approach but it actually shocked me that the date you point to would jive so well with 27/28 AD date. I’ll be looking further into your site now for sure.
Good job (or should I say nice find in looking at this Martin fellow.)

Then in response to my other article he wrote;
I will because you suggested it but I am already completely convinced… again, you really did good – no, great! Thanks again.
Brethren please share this site with your loved ones. Even those who are not into the bible per say. The truth often shocks many people who have been lulled into a deep sleep in their current denominations. You do not know who is going to wake up or start to get turned on to the truth. All you can do is try to share this information with them.

But I have also just received a news article which I have included at the end of this News Letter, about he Silent Famine Sweeping the Globe
For those who enjoyed the Israelite studies this winter, I have been informed of a number of You tube interviews with Yair Davidy Yair Davidiy #5 – The Migrations of the Lost Ten Tribes

Once at You Tube scroll down to see the other links from Yair Davidy. I can not do so on my dial up. Too Slow
During the Speaking tour I showed those who were there about the current borrowings of the banking system and the credit crisis. After the tour, the news headlines were about how J.P. Morgan stepped in and in an unprecedented move, with the Federal Governments aid, bought the bankrupt Bear Stern bank for pennies on the dollar.

What happened? This week I have news about why this happened and of more things about to happen. I show you this not to show my prowess in financial matters. No I show this as I did in the presentation to let you know how the next curse is shaping up to take place. Pestilence is at the door and this is how it is going to be spread.

Also this week more and more news on how the independent truckers are folding up due to the high cost of fuel. When you add this to the fact that the Federal Gov. is printing money like never before, know for a fact that the inflation is already here. We had the exact same type of scenario in the 80s. High Oil, high gold, followed by high inflation and high interest. High Interest is next to come with high cost for food. Get ready. How? Not by hoarding up as much as you can, no by Praying and Obeying the law. It is just that simple.
As each of us cleans our house and cars and places of work of all leavening agents or bread and crumbs, for the days of Unleavened Bread let us keep in mind the reason we do it.
As shown to you in last weeks articles, it is symbolic of putting sin out of our lives. The Leaven is representative of sin and the cleaning of our homes and putting the bread out is symbolic of how we are to put sin out of lives. We must look for it in places we had not considered.

The way you go about it on a physical level is symbolic of how you will put sin out of your life on a spiritual level.
In just a few days the New Moon will be seen and we then will begin to count to Passover 14 days later. So adjust your cleaning accordingly and leave the kitchen to last.
You are also commanded to eat unleavened bread each day during these 7 days of Unleavened Bread. This means you must go and buy Matzo from your local Jewish store.
Those of you who are new to all this, and may not understand it all, please just do your best and try your best to be obedient. Yahweh will see your heart and open your mind to understand more as you try.
As we approach the month of Aviv, and as we count the years of the Jubilee cycle, we are about to begin the sixth year of the second cycle of Sabbatical years.
Leviticus 25:21 tells us that in the sixth year Yahweh will bring fourth produce enough for three years, in order for us to keep the 7th year Sabbatical rest and not plant during the seventh year. This is what He will do if we are OBEDIANT.

We are also told in Duet. 26:11-14 to give a tithe to the Levite and the stranger among us, the fatherless and the widow
This subject is like watching porcupines mate. It has to be done very carefully or someone is going to get pricked. Talking about tithing is also a very tricky subject.
When I was a member of the United Church of God, I wrote an article for the United News anonymously , about the blessing of tithing as I had learned over the past 22 years.
I had tithed a 1st tithe and kept the second Feast tithe for myself and then in the third year I gave the third year tithe. I had kept a record of my taxes paid and annual income and the more I tithed the more I seemed to make. At the time I wrote the article I believed it to be true.

In 2005 I gave my presentation of the Jubilee message in New England and during that message I mentioned tithing. Afterwards, up at the club house I was shown so many scriptures on why we should not tithe. I had no real defense at the time. Then again when I was presenting the Jubilee message in Toronto, I again mentioned the tithe and again I was shown scriptures, only this time I was given a very long article by a group in Michigan on why we should not tithe.

I read it and studied it and tried to prove it wrong. Biblically I could not do so. So I stopped tithing.
In Malachi we are told to test Yahweh in these things. Test Yahweh. And this is what I did. Here is the heart and core of what I did.
My income seemed to grow the more I tithed. Each year it grew. Until that year when I had stopped I had been making a lot of money and had many contracts and other investment incomes. With the tithing came tax benefits as well. If I tithed I got the money back in a tax break.

Then I stopped and my contracts were taken away from me. My investments all went bad. My savings was eaten up and I was soon going to be in financial trouble. Many of those whom I had met who did not tithe seemed to be having financial troubles as well. What was I missing?

It was not until I read the book by Ernest L. Martin on Tithing that I saw my the mistake I had made. He clearly states things as no one else has. It was not tithing , whether I did or did not tithe, no, it was on my giving, or offerings. I had also stopped giving and it was in this area that I was wrong.
I am now going to refer you to Mr. Martins short book. Please take the time to read it this week. It will not take you very long. I must warn you that I do not agree or follow any of what Mr. Martin says in chapter 13. If you were to skip that one chapter all together that would be fine. Here is his link This is the point of this weeks News Letter. Please read the book.
Let me say right here and up front. This is not a shameless attempt to guilt you to give me money. No it is not. I have not asked for you to give me money before. I am not now asking for your tithes now. Do not send them to me, it is a sin to give any one other than a Levite your tithe which is to be used for the Temple work.. I do feel you need to know it is a year to give to the poor. And I want to make sure you know it. That is the purpose of this weeks News Letter.

So go out and find the widow and the poor and the orphan and give it to them. Do not send it to your church and let them do it. Do not send it to me. You do it your self. Go to habitat for humanity, go to the soup kitchen or salvation army and give the money to those who need it your self. Do not let it get lost in some organizations bank account. You do this your self.
Do not neglect those in your own family, if they need help, help them.

I would welcome your letters telling others what you have done to encourage them to do like wise in their own area.
As for this web site, for the record. I have put out this News Letter and paid for the web site out of my own money and have been pleased to do so. I paid about $1500 since I started in 2006 to maintain the site.. To go on the speaking tour it cost me $176 for parking and another $174 for the power point program. I am soon to buy a projector for about $1000.
As far as donations go, I have been given $15 by one lady for some of my printed material, $30 by a man for one of the books I was giving away, and $200 by a couple to help cover the any cost while on the tour, and $70 by a group all over the past two years. And as far as I know that is all I have been given.

I work for a living just like most of you. I know how hard it is to safe your money. Yet I do have goals for the Jubilee message. I am hoping that by selling the DVD when it is ready, that I will have enough to rent a hall and buy advertising so I can share that message I spoke on the Prophecy Club tour, to other people and to other groups.
I am also hoping it will be enough to take me to Kenya to visit those over there who have asked to be taught the things I am sharing here with you. These things do cost money and If you want to help in these areas I will not stop you.

If you can host a meeting so I can speak about the Chronological order of the Prophecies as told to us in the Jubilee let me know.
That is how much money I have been given. Those are the goals I have for this message in trying to get it out. But this is not why I have told you about the tithing. The tithing message is for you and the poor of your area. I will work and I will safe up the money needed to do the job. I know times are tough for many of you.
In my presentation of the Jubilee, I show how the current Banking Crisis in the USA is a possible indicator of a major Recession or even depression. There I said the R word and the D word. I show how this could be a possible open door for the third curse of pestilence to come to our countries.

The following article is on the banking crisis and show you just how precarious things are. This is from one of my financial letters. The second article is on the food crisis that is happening around the world. It is being noticed by these financial investors, and so I show you what they see so you will know it is not just something I have invented out of my imagination.
The third and last article is from the head line news. And it shows you that this food crisis is actually having an effect. ‘Silent’ famine sweeps globe. Brethren things are happening. Wake up, wake up, please wake up and tell others what is about to come.

It is like a tsunami. It looks harmless enough as it draws back the water, and then when it comes a shore, all the devastation takes place and you have no time to run. Please take head of what is being said in these News Letters.


Joseph F Dumond
Lehman rumored on the brink! What next?
by Martin D Weiss, Ph.D
Dear Joseph,
Rumors were flying last week that Lehman Brothers could be the next major Wall Street firm to fail — largely due to derivatives.
If true, all heck could break loose next week — with the dollar crashing and commodities soaring.
Plus, I want you to know this mess did not develop overnight.
Back in 1994, when Dad and I studied the charts on derivatives held by major U.S. banks, we were shocked to see they had grown to $15.7 trillion, and we wrote extensively about the dangers they posed.
A few months later, in a landmark report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) warned sternly and vehemently about the very same dangers.
The GAO warned about the risk of “abrupt failures or withdrawal from trading” in derivatives.
It warned about “linkages [between firms] that could cause any financial disruption to spread faster and be harder to contain.”
It even wrote about “system risk” — the threat derivatives posed to the entire U.S. financial system.
That was nearly a decade and a half ago.
But in the years that followed, rather than respond with steps to restore a semblance of prudent balance to our financial markets, all of Wall Street banded together, derided the GAO report, and set into motion a derivatives boom that made all previous booms appear tiny by comparison.
End result: Now, instead of $15.7 trillion, the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) reports that the total notional value of derivatives in the hands of U.S banks is $172.2 trillion. In other words,
Since the day the GAO warned that these derivatives could derail our financial system, they have grown eleven-fold.
Right now, according to the OCC, just five major U.S. commercial banks control 97% of all the bank-held derivatives in the United States, a concentration of power — and risk — unsurpassed in the history of finance.
Four of these banks — Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Wachovia, and HSBC — have more credit exposure to derivatives defaults than they have in capital.
And among them, the U.S.-based bank taking the most risk (based on the OCC’s data) is precisely the same one that has swallowed up the failed Bear Stearns — JPMorgan Chase. Here are the facts:
· JP Morgan’s exposure to credit risks associated with derivatives is now 416% of its capital.
· JP Morgan alone controls $91.7 trillion in derivatives. That’s over five times more than the total derivatives on the books of all U.S. banks when the GAO issued its warnings back in 1994.
· JP Morgan now has an astonishing 53% of the entire U.S. derivatives market today. This means that:
In the labyrinthine world of derivatives, all roads lead to Morgan. And no matter which Wall Street firm is — or is rumored to be — in trouble, JP Morgan Chase will be directly and immediately impacted.
So now do you understand why the Fed was so desperate to bail out Bear Stearns two weeks ago? And now do you see why JP Morgan was the bank that immediately stepped up to the plate to take over?
It was pure self defense. And they had no choice.
That’s also why Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke tore up the entire rule book of a half-century of Fed policy in a single weekend. And that’s why he will continue to crank up the printing presses … slash interest rates … and do everything in his power to throw billions of newly created, unbacked paper dollars into the economy.
Meanwhile, despite all of his efforts, this week’s reports proved that the nation’s manufacturers are slashing their orders … home values are continuing to plunge nationwide … millions of homeowners are still defaulting on their mortgages … and the credit crisis continues to spread.
But in his desperation to prevent a Wall Street meltdown and paper over the credit crisis, Mr. Bernanke is creating an even greater problem …
The U.S. Dollar Is Now Suffering
Its Worst Plunge in History
Just in the last few days, a minor rally in the dollar has evaporated, and the long plunge in the U.S. dollar — the worst in history — has resumed.
The simple fact is that money is just like every other commodity: It operates on the law of supply and demand.
When the supply of money — in this case, the U.S. dollar — surges, its value falls. Put simply, every new dollar the Fed is creating right now to rescue the likes of Bear Stearns or to save the economy — is reducing the value of every other dollar in circulation:
Every dollar in your paycheck …
Every dollar in your savings accounts …
Every dollar you invest …
Every dollar you have socked away for retirement.
Now, the Fed is printing money like there’s no tomorrow. And as those hundreds of billions of new dollars come home to roost, they’re turning the once-proud greenback into the laughingstock of the currency world.
That’s why — for the first time ever — many economists are beginning to fear the nightmare scenario: The day when foreigners, who own more than $7 trillion in U.S. dollars simply say, “enough!”
When that happens — when foreigners stampede for the exits — all heck could break loose. The rapid decline we’ve seen in the dollar’s value so far will turn into a full-fledged crash with the power to cut your buying power in half.
Why the Falling Dollar Is the Single Most Dangerous
— And Potentially the Single Most Profitable —
Event of Your Investing Lifetime
In this midst of this crisis, you must have a step-by-step plan to insulate your buying power, your savings, your investments and your retirement as the dollar continues its head-long plunge.
Plus, you need a strategy that will help you make lemon into lemonade — to transform these major dangers into massive profit opportunities.
And with that in mind, Larry and I have just posted a special report to our Website that’s designed to do just that.
Its title:
Good luck and God bless!
About Money and Markets
For more information and archived issues, visit .
Money and Markets (MaM) is published by Weiss Research, Inc. and written by Martin D. Weiss along with Sean Brodrick, Larry Edelson, Michael Larson, Nilus Mattive, Tony Sagami, and Jack Crooks. To avoid conflicts of interest, Weiss Research and its staff do not hold positions in companies recommended in MaM, nor do we accept any compensation for such recommendations. The comments, graphs, forecasts, and indices published in MaM are based upon data whose accuracy is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Performance returns cited are derived from our best estimates but must be considered hypothetical in as much as we do not track the actual prices investors pay or receive. Regular contributors and staff include John Burke, Amber Dakar, Adam Shafer, Andrea Baumwald, Kristen Adams, Maryellen Murphy, Red Morgan, Jennifer Newman-Amos, Julie Trudeau, and Dinesh Kalera.
Attention editors and publishers! Money and Markets issues can be republished. Republished issues MUST include attribution of the author(s) and the following short paragraph:
This investment news is brought to you by Money and Markets. Money and Markets is a free daily investment newsletter from Martin D. Weiss and Weiss Research analysts offering the latest investing news and financial insights for the stock market, including tips and advice on investing in gold, energy and oil. Dr. Weiss is a leader in the fields of investing, interest rates, financial safety and economic forecasting. To view archives or subscribe,
© 2008 by Weiss Research, Inc. All rights reserved. 15430 Endeavour Drive, Jupiter, FL 33478
Oil, Water and Wheat …
by Sean Brodrick
Dear Joseph,
If you think you know what water is worth … what wheat is worth … and what oil is worth … check out the latest news from Saudi Arabia …
The Kingdom is going to start importing wheat early next year — 250,000 tons by next spring. The reason is simple: They need to save water.
Underground water levels in Saudi Arabia are dropping by at least 16 feet a year in areas of “heavy” cultivation, according to a U.S. government report.
Eventually, the Saudis will probably import all their wheat — about three million tons a year.
This could get expensive — the price of wheat has more than doubled in the past year.
But the Saudis don’t care about the price of wheat because …
Water Is Much More Precious
Than Oil in the Middle East
The Saudis get most of their water from aquifers which are being replenished at only about 10% of the extraction rate. Desalinization has its limits and even though the government picks up the fuel tab, a new desalination plant costs about $200 billion.
Most of the Kingdom’s water use — over 80% — is for food. And Saudi Arabia isn’t the only Middle East country with an empty bowl to fill.
Egypt, the world’s second-largest wheat importer, saw its wheat imports jump 43% to 5.2 million tons in the first eight months of the year that began July 1.
The Middle East’s most populous nation imported seven million tons of wheat last year, half its annual consumption. Bread riots in Egypt killed at least two people recently.
Arab countries have less than 5% of the world’s population and control over 40% of the world’s oil supply. However, they get only 2% of the world’s rainfall and have only 0.4% of the world’s recoverable water resources.
Their populations are booming — which means the water has to serve more and more people. So it gets tougher for these countries to feed themselves.
In the end, it’s a global problem:
Worldwide supplies of wheat will fall to 110.4 million tons by the end of the marketing year on May 31, the lowest levels in 30 years.
U.S. stockpiles may drop to 6.6 million tons, a 47% drop from the prior year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Other grain supplies are dwindling, too. Soybean stocks are at a 35-year low, and world rice inventories are at the lowest level since the 1970s.
Consequently …
The Era of Cheap Food Is Over
Over the past eight years, the price of food worldwide has increased 75%; the price of wheat has gone up a dramatic 200%.
And the rate of inflation is accelerating. In a recent report, the United Nations predicted that food prices are likely to remain high for a decade.
Here are some facts …
· As of December, 37 countries faced food crises, and 20 had imposed some sort of food-price controls.
· The prices of the world’s three main grains — rice, wheat and corn — have all more than doubled in the past year.
· Part of rising food prices is due to rising fuel prices — as the Saudis raise the price of oil they sell us, we’re going to be raising the price of wheat we sell them.
· Another part of the equation is weather. Extreme weather shifts over the past two years have reduced the worldwide wheat harvest by nearly 10%. And it’s not just wheat. Since 1971, in the United States, droughts or floods have wiped out up to a third of the Midwest corn crop four times.
· Wheat production in South America and Western Europe has been cut from 5% to 20% in each of the past two growing seasons.
· Australia was once the second-largest exporter of grain, harvesting about 25 million tonnes in a good year. But the worst drought in a century reduced the crop to only 9.8 million tonnes in 2006 and 13.1 million tonnes in 2007.
Now, this year could be different. If good weather holds, we could see a record world wheat crop. And just this week, we saw grain prices tumble as the government reported that farmers are planting from fence to fence.
On the other hand, people in China and India are changing their diets — eating more and better food.
The Chinese ate just 44 pounds of meat per capita in 1985. They now eat over 110 pounds a year. Each pound of beef takes about seven to 10 pounds of grain to produce, which puts even more pressure on grain prices.
In fact, over the next decade, according to tentative UN and OECD forecasts made in February, the price of corn could rise 27%, oilseeds like soybeans by 23% and rice by 9%.
U.S. consumers know that food prices are already rising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that ground beef, milk, chicken, apples, tomatoes, lettuce, coffee and orange juice are among the staples that cost more these days.
At $1.32, the average price of a loaf of bread has increased 32% since January 2005. In the past year alone, the average price of a carton of eggs is up nearly 50%.
Overall, food prices rose nearly 5% in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and should rise by at least that much this year, too.
A survey by the Food Marketing Institute showed the average number of weekly shopping trips falling below two per household for the first time. Food banks are seeing increases in their overall client loads.
Who Is Going to Feed
A Hungry World? The U.S.!
Demand for U.S. wheat supplies has increased 51% since June 1, compared with the same period a year earlier, USDA data show. Wheat was the fourth-biggest U.S. crop in 2007, valued at $13.7 billion, behind corn, soybeans and hay.
In fact, the U.S. accounts for a whopping 40% of the world’s grain exports. You can say that we’re “the Saudi Arabia of grain.”
So everything balances out, right? Well, not exactly. You see, as it turns out …
The U.S. Has a Worsening Water Problem, Too!
Agriculture takes a lot of water in the U.S., accounting for 80% of the nation’s consumption, and over 90% in many Western states.
The Colorado River is the main source of water for many people in the West. If its volume decreases due to climate change, 25 million people are going to have a serious problem.
Bad news: Experts expect a warming climate will reduce the flow of the Colorado River. And if we get a serious drought … well, who knows?
And it’s not just the West we have to worry about. The U.S. government projects that at least 36 states will face water shortages within five years because of a combination of rising temperatures, drought, population growth, urban sprawl, and just plain old waste.
Like Saudi Arabia, we have to look beyond household consumers to agriculture. While just 16% of all harvested cropland in the U.S. is irrigated, this acreage generates nearly half the value of all crops sold.
That brings me to the Ogallala Aquifer. This underground reservoir of water was filled up during the last ice age with enough water to fill Lake Superior. The Ogallala is under eight U.S. states — parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas.
There’s another name for the states overlying the Ogallala Aquifer — “America’s breadbasket.” Corn, wheat and soybeans grow in those states, along with herds of livestock.
Now for the troubling news: The Ogallala Aquifer is being drained at a rate of 12 billion cubic meters per year. To date, that works out to a total depletion equal to the annual flow of 18 Colorado Rivers. Some estimates say the Ogallala will dry up in as little as 25 years!
Here’s the Good News: There Are
Great Companies Working on These Problems!
There are firms trying to find grains that will grow with less water, and solve all the other problems I mentioned today. Not only is that good news for the planet, it’s also good news for investors looking to help out and possibly make big profits in the process.
You’ll find some of these innovative companies in the Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (MOO).
What about the water problems? Well, you could buy one of the water ETFs that hold a basket of stocks of companies involved in the production, treatment and distribution of water.
An example would be PowerShares Water Resources Portfolio (PHO). It holds everything from French water distribution giant Veolia Environment to drilling and construction firm Layne Christensen.
Look, I think oil and water … and wheat … are all in major supply/demand squeezes that aren’t going away anytime soon. I expect them all to trend higher in 2008 and beyond. And I think investors need to position their portfolios accordingly. The pullback we’re seeing now is probably one heck of a buying opportunity!
Yours for trading profits,
About Money and Markets
For more information and archived issues, visit
Money and Markets (MaM) is published by Weiss Research, Inc. and written by Martin D. Weiss along with Sean Brodrick, Larry Edelson, Michael Larson, Nilus Mattive, Tony Sagami, and Jack Crooks. To avoid conflicts of interest, Weiss Research and its staff do not hold positions in companies recommended in MaM, nor do we accept any compensation for such recommendations. The comments, graphs, forecasts, and indices published in MaM are based upon data whose accuracy is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Performance returns cited are derived from our best estimates but must be considered hypothetical in as much as we do not track the actual prices investors pay or receive. Regular contributors and staff include John Burke, Amber Dakar, Adam Shafer, Andrea Baumwald, Kristen Adams, Maryellen Murphy, Red Morgan, Jennifer Newman-Amos, Julie Trudeau, and Dinesh Kalera.
Attention editors and publishers! Money and Markets issues can be republished. Republished issues MUST include attribution of the author(s) and the following short paragraph:
This investment news is brought to you by Money and Markets. Money and Markets is a free daily investment newsletter from Martin D. Weiss and Weiss Research analysts offering the latest investing news and financial insights for the stock market, including tips and advice on investing in gold, energy and oil. Dr. Weiss is a leader in the fields of investing, interest rates, financial safety and economic forecasting. To view archives or subscribe, visit
© 2008 by Weiss Research, Inc. All rights reserved. 15430 Endeavour Drive, Jupiter, FL 33478
‘Silent’ famine sweeps globe
Rice, fertilizer shortages, food costs, higher energy prices equal world crisis

Posted: April 01, 2008
8:59 pm Eastern
© 2008 WorldNetDaily
Washington – From India to Africa to North Korea to Pakistan and even in New York City, higher grain prices, fertilizer shortages and rising energy costs are combining to spell hunger for millions in what is being characterized as a global “silent famine.”
Global food prices, based on United Nations records, rose 35 percent in the last year, escalating a trend that began in 2002. Since then, prices have risen 65 percent.
Last year, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s world food index, dairy prices rose nearly 80 percent and grain 42 percent.
“This is the new face of hunger,” said Josetta Sheeran, director of the World Food Program, launching an appeal for an extra $500 million so it could continue supplying food aid to 73 million hungry people this year. “People are simply being priced out of food markets. … We have never before had a situation where aggressive rises in food prices keep pricing our operations out of our reach.”
(Story continues below)
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The WFP launched a public appeal weeks ago because the price of the food it buys to feed some of the world’s poorest people had risen by 55 percent since last June. By the time the appeal began last week, prices had risen a further 20 percent. That means WFP needs $700 million to bridge the gap between last year’s budget and this year’s prices. The numbers are expected to continue to rise.
The crisis is widespread and the result of numerous causes – a kind of “perfect storm” leading to panic in many places:
· In Thailand, farmers are sleeping in their fields because thieves are stealing rice, now worth $600 a ton, right out of the paddies.
· Four people were killed in Egypt in riots over subsidized flour that was being sold for profit on the black market.
· There have been food riots in Morocco, Senegal and Cameroon.
· Mexico’s government is considering lifting a ban on genetically modified crops, to allow its farmers to compete with the United States.
· Argentina, Kazakhstan and China have imposed restrictions to limit grain exports and keep more of their food at home.
· Vietnam and India, both major rice exporters, have announced further restrictions on overseas sales.
· Violent food protests hit Burkina Faso in February.
· Protesters rallied in Indonesia recently, and media reported deaths by starvation.
· In the Philippines, fast-food chains were urged to cut rice portions to counter a surge in prices.
· Millions of people in India face starvation after a plague of rats overruns a region, as they do cyclically every 50 years.
· Officials in Bangladesh warn of an emerging “silent famine” that threatens to ravage the region.
According to some experts, the worst damage is being done by government mandates and subsidies for “biofuels” that supposedly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and fight climate changes. Thirty percent of this year’s U.S. grain harvest will go to ethanol distilleries. The European Union, meanwhile, has set a goal of 10 percent bio-fuels for all transportation needs by 2010.
“A huge amount of the world’s farmland is being diverted to feed cars, not people,” writes Gwynne Dyer, a London-based independent journalist.
He notes that in six of the past seven years the human race has consumed more grain than it grew. World grain reserves last year were only 57 days, down from 180 days a decade ago.
One in four bushels of corn from this year’s U.S. crop will be diverted to make ethanol, according to estimates.
“Turning food into fuel for cars is a major mistake on many fronts,” said Janet Larsen, director of research at the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental group based in Washington. “One, we’re already seeing higher food prices in the American supermarket. Two, perhaps more serious from a global perspective, we’re seeing higher food prices in developing countries where it’s escalated as far as people rioting in the streets.”
Palm oil is also at record prices because of biofuel demands. This has created shortages in Indonesia and Malaysia, where it is a staple.
Nevertheless, despite the recognition that the biofuels industry is adding to a global food crisis, the ethanol industry is popular in the U.S. where farmers enjoy subsidies for the corn crops.
Another contributing factor to the crisis is the demand for more meat in an increasingly prosperous Asia. More grain is used to feed the livestock than is required to feed humans directly in a traditional grain-based diet.
Bad weather is another problem driving the world’s wheat stocks to a 30-year low – along with regional droughts and a declining dollar.
“This is an additional setback for the world economy, at a time when we are already going through major turbulence,” Angel Gurria, head of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, told Reuters. “But the biggest drama is the impact of higher food prices on the poor.”
According to the organization, as well as the U.N., the price of corn could rise 27 percent in the next decade.
John Bruton, the European Union’s ambassador to the U.S., predicts the current trend is the beginning of a 10-15 year rise in food costs worldwide.
The rodent plague in India occurs about every half century following the heavy flowering of a local species of bamboo, providing the rodents with a feast of high-protein foliage. Once the rats have ravaged the bamboo, they turn on the crops, consuming hundreds of tons of rice and corn supplies.
Survivors of the previous mautam, which heralded widespread famine in 1958, say they remember areas of paddy fields the size of four soccer fields being devastated overnight.
In Africa, rats are seen as part of the answer to the food shortage. According to Africa News, Karamojongs have resorted to hunting wild rats for survival as famine strikes the area.
Supplies of fertilizer are extremely tight on the worldwide market, contributing to a potential disaster scenario. The Scotsman reports there are virtually no stocks of ammonium nitrate in the United Kingdom.
Global nitrogen is currently in deficit, a situation that is unlikely to change for at least three years, the paper reports.
South Koreans are speculating, as they do annually, on how many North Koreans will starve to death before the fall harvest. But this year promises to be worse than usual.
Severe crop failure in the North and surging global prices for food will mean millions of hungry Koreans.
Roughly a third of children and mothers are malnourished, according to a recent U.N. study. The average 8-year-old in the North is 7 inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter than a South Korean child of the same age.
Floods last August ruined part of the main yearly harvest, creating a 25-percent shortfall in the food supply and putting 6 million people in need, according to the U.N. World Food Program.
Yesterday, the Hong Kong government tried to put a stop to panic-buying of rice in the city of 6.9 million as fears mounted over escalating prices and a global rice shortage. Shop shelves were being cleared of rice stocks as Hong Kong people reacted to news that the price of rice imported from Thailand had shot up by almost a third in the past week, according to agency reports.
Global food prices are even hitting home in New York City, according to a report in the Daily News. Food pantries and soup kitchens in the city are desperately low on staples for the area’s poor and homeless.
The Food Bank for New York City, which supplies food to 1,000 agencies and 1.3 million people, calls it the worst problem since its founding 25 years ago.
Last year, the Food Bank received 17 million pounds of food through the Emergency Food Assistance Program, less than half of the 35 million pounds it received in 2002. And donations from individuals and corporations are also down about 50 percent, according to the report.
High gas prices, increased food production costs and a move to foreign production of American food are contributing to the problem.


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