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Sunday, 05/16/2021 7:28:43 AM

Sunday, May 16, 2021 7:28:43 AM

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Rising food prices threaten world’s most vulnerable
Richard (Rick) Mills - - May 14, 2021


Nobody wants to see hyper-inflation in North America, where stable prices are the norm, or anywhere else for that matter, but the risk is certainly there.

US food price increases are already at their highest in nine years, and the consumer price index rose the most in April of any 12-month period since 2008.

The situation is particularly bad in the US Southwest which is experiencing the continuation of a 20-year drought that is the worst in 1,200 years.

Among the crops already seeing drought conditions are corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum and cotton. Hay crops and cattle production are also expected to be hit hard.

A lack of snow-melt runoff and precipitation, in an El Nina year made worse by climate change, has left reservoirs at a fraction of their normal levels, endangering millions of people that depend on them including farmers and ranchers that need to irrigate crops/ water herds.

California has already declared a drought emergency in nearly three-quarters of the state, and an official water shortage declaration for the Colorado River basin is expected by June.

Continuing the US (and Canadian) economic recovery is obviously important but it should not come on the backs of the poor who bear the most weight of inflation, particularly increases in food prices.

Government officials need to be aware of how their monetary and fiscal policies are impacting the most vulnerable in society.