World Food Markets in Turmoil, Washington Sleeps


Guarding rice in Manila, Romeo Ranoco/Reuters via the star

They are rationing rice at Sam's Club and Costco; in Manila they have to post guards around it. All over the world, food prices are rising and supplies are disrupted as people start hoarding.

In Washington, the $300 billion Farm Bill plods on as it has for months. It has $5.2 billion dollars in direct payments to farmers as their income hits record highs. David Herszenhorn writes in the New York Times:

'It will not change biofuel mandates that are directing more corn to ethanol and contributing to a global rise in food prices. It will do little to ease worldwide food shortages. And at a time of high volatility in the futures markets, it will not require tougher regulation.In other words, Congress seems oblivious.

"It really is astounding," said Representative Ron Kind, Democrat of Wisconsin, who has pushed for broad changes in farm subsidy programs. "It's as if this farm bill is being negotiated in a vacuum." ::New York Times

UPDATE: Great post on Grist by Bill Chameides: How Congress is shortchanging our health and sweetening things for the food industry