Global food crisis 'one or two bad harvests away'

The fast growth in resource demand from emerging markets has contributed to “a period of intensified resource stress,” a report said:

The “scale and speed” of demand growth from emerging countries, coupled with a decade of tight commodity markets, has created the current period of “intensified resource stress,” the report, published by London-based think-tank Chatham House, said.

“The outlook is one of supply disruptions, volatile prices, accelerated environmental degradation and rising political tensions over resource access,” according to the report.

It noted that some analysts have suggested that the “resource boom” that took place over the past decade was coming to an end, because of the maturation of technologies to access non-conventional gas and oil and of the global economic downturn.

“In the case of food, the world remains only one or two bad harvests away from another global crisis,” the report said.

“Lower prices in the meantime may simply trigger another bout of resource binge, especially in the large and growing developing countries.”

The report said the growth of China and India, both as consumers but also as producers, affected many resource markets, adding that over the last 10 years, global use of coal, palm oil and iron ore has been increasing by between 5% and 10% per year, with oil, copper, wheat and rice growing by 2% a year.

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