Against local food

In: Uncategorized

14 Sep 2006

An astute point on the downside of relying on local food sources from the unexpected source of the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook. Its chapter on commodity prices (PDF) makes as an aside the point that:

“the volatility of food and raw agricultural material prices seems to have fallen on average over the past couple of decades, as growing geographical diversification of production and technological advances have reduced the sensitivity of food prices to supply shocks, such as bad weather or natural disasters.”

In other words global food production and high technology can help prevent food shortages and even starvation. If there are problems in one part of the world then food can be transported in from other regions of the globe. The original source is a 2004 report on the state of agricultural commodity markets by the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

The same chapter makes the point that the supply of base metals is practically unlimited. Aluminum, for example, accounts for 8% of the earth’s crust and iron 5%. The original source is a 2003 study by John Tilton.

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