There is going to be a serious world food crisis in the next twelve months as several key crops have failed. The US corn harvest has failed and the Russian grain harvest is also in a bad way. This is going to drive up grain commodity prices and grain futures will become a speculators paradise. There was a recent article on how Barclays had made £500 million from speculation in the last crisis.
This will not affect the rich countries as much as the lower income countries where many people will not be able to afford to eat. This will lead to waves of violence and unrest, that have been predicted in a slashdot post today. Europe, the US and Russia must all think seriously about food security but they should look beyond their own borders. They should also be looking towards China. The problem for China is that it is a middle income country with a huge population to feed. So if the prices go too high their is a big chance that unrest will spread to China and this is very serious for international relations. I was discussing with colleagues that I would buy a farm and then have personal food security, but they pointed out how do you protect your food from those who would take it? Look at what happened to the farmers in Zimbabwe for instance. The mob will just come and take it. So food security for China is vital. We don't want to face a mob of 1.34 billion with potential access to military hardware and nuclear weapons fighting for food resources. That would have very serious consequences for all of us.