21 December, 2009

The coming food scarcity

Would you want your mother, sister or daughter lining up for emergency food supplies?

It is estimated by some that food will become scarce in 2010-2011. US Dept of Agriculture trend forecasts support this view. If this is true, then the laws of supply and demand will kick in and food prices will rise dramatically.

Eric deCarbonnel, editor of MarketSceptics.com reports on soaring food prices in India, the world’s largest democracy, with 1 billion people.

“Slogan-shouting lawmakers demanding that the government control rising food prices have disrupted parliament on several occasions in recent days. 

Food prices have been soaring at an unprecedented pace. Government data shows they have risen to a nearly 20 percent high over last year - the fastest rate of increase in over a decade.

In his 17 Dec 2009 post, titled “2010 Food Crisis for Dummies” deCarbonnel predicts a 2010 food crisis that he says will lead to a “financial Armageddon”.
Using official records and statistics, and a mix of historic figures and forecasts, deCarbonnel makes some stunning observations and predictions.

During 2007-2009 Trinidad and Tobago experienced constant, monthly rising food prices. The government used a series of strategies to try to alleviate the effect on consumers. This included lifting Value Added Tax on several food items, including milk, curry, saltfish and a number of other imported food items.

Many times, these strategies failed as supermarket owners and other merchants refused to pass on these savings to consumers. Food inflation ran up to 40% YoY in some cases. I remember seeing rice at double the ‘normal’ price. Rice is a daily staple in our country.

With more expected food inflation in 2010 and beyond, it is wise to prepare now. Take advantage in the temporary lull in food price increases and stock up now. Rice, flour, powdered milk, tinned foods (especially the Cuisine brand, sold at HiLo supermarkets). Stockpiling these items will allow your family a little breathing space should something unexpected happen. Just use a permanent marker and mark the expiry date on top each tin. Rotate out several months before expiry.

Growing your own food is best, and for those without large tracts of land, then a kitchen garden is homegrown food security. The Agriculture Ministry has a program that gives you a start in this area.

Just remember, no matter how much food you grow or stockpile, it will be of no use should someone else come and take it from you by force. Develop a strategy to protect your loved ones and supplies. For those without guns, a plan that involves your neighbours is better than nothing. Being able to depend on immediate neighbours will go a long way in your survival.

Those in the protective services should especially be community oriented, as the moment a national emergency is even suspected, your superiors will have you confined to base/barracks. This leaves your family partially unprotected. If you develop goodwill within your respective communities, along with real, workable, tested emergency plans, then your family may survive, even in your absence.

It is well known that during the 1990 attempted coup, looters had their groceries and other goods taken from them by police, and soldiers. A lot of the goods found their way into the homes of these same soldiers and police. There is no reason to believe things will be different during another national emergency that involves looting, human beings being what we are.

I am not casting any judgement here, nor advocating breaking any laws. But if protective services personnel relieve looters of their loot, and intend to take it to their families, spare a thought for the senior citizen living alone on your street who cannot leave his/her home due to infirmity or fear. They may have no food at home. Spare a thought for the family with two working parents who weren’t able to stockpile any food.

For that matter, spare a thought for the airgunner in your neighbourhood who may be the only one to drive away home intruders from your family’s home while you are away. Since the majority of the law-abiding population is unarmed, the neighbourhood airgunners may be the last line of defence against rampaging gangs. A well-placed 16 grain pellet, traveling near the speed of sound, to a gangster’s head from 60+ meters away may very well convince the gang to move on to softer targets.

In summary, stockpile food and water, grow what you can, have a proven method to protect your loved ones and your stockpile, have enough for charity and barter, but don’t let down your guard.

Got preps?

1 comment:

  1. This is indeed very sound advice Trinni. I agree, stockpile food, grow your own food, and develop a stategy to protect it.


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