World News: How Food Could Determine Libya’s Future

For those who wonder if food situations will ever hit the United States, here’s another story for consideration. As Libya is currently under government control, residents are seeing their food supplies diminish and disappear. As Libya must import much of its food, the options for Libya are quickly running out:

Food shortages in eastern Libya, the largest rebel-controlled area, have reached dire levels. Fighting has left food stocks depleted and food supply chains in shambles. Around Benghazi, food prices have reportedly risen by 50 to 75 percent. Due to its poor suitability for agriculture, Libya imports the majority of its food, which has become largely impossible since fighting broke out. The United Nations-run World Food Program is attempting to alleviate the food shortage, but so far with little success. Last Thursday, a ship that the World Food Program had chartered to carry 1,000 tons of flour to Benghazi, the provisional capitol of the rebel leadership, abandoned the trip after reports of attacks by pro-Qaddafi aircraft in the area. As food runs out and the conflict drags on, eastern Libya’s food crisis will only get worse. Qaddafi appears willing to use the shortage as a weapon against the rebels, reportedly blocking food from reaching the besieged rebel-held town of Zawiya. [Complete source]

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Reports say that the United States is willing to send food to the country to help the situation, but as you may have read last week, we mentioned that FEMA (our own emergency preparation organization) is ordering record numbers of food from local vendors to help the country in case we have our own catastrophes. With the current restrictions on farmers and food prices going up, food is becoming more finite, and the United States is showing that it is nervous about taking care of our own country, let alone even thinking about becoming involved in another. We are already consuming grains faster than farmers are growing them:

Due to rising gasoline prices, as well as federal mandates, about 40% of corn—America’s biggest crop—is being brewed into ethanol. By the time the fall harvest begins, the Agriculture Department expects the U.S. to have enough corn left to satisfy the country’s appetite for 18 days. The country marked a supply this tight just once since the 1930s Dust Bowl era.

“The stage is set for very serious disruptions, should weather disasters happen,” said Keith Collins, the former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “It seems clear to me that the chance of a more widespread global food crisis has increased.”[Complete source]

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