23 April 2008

food shortages/rationing starting in america

Wal-Mart's Sam's Club limits rice purchases
Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:12pm EDT
By Nicole Maestri

NEW YORK, April 23 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc's Sam's Club warehouse division said on Wednesday it is limiting sales of several types of rice, the latest sign that fears of a rice shortage are rippling around the world.

Sam's Club, the No. 2 U.S. warehouse club operator, said it is limiting sales of Jasmine, Basmati and long grain white rice "due to recent supply and demand trends."

U.S. rice futures hitting an all-time high Wednesday on worries about supply shortages.

On Tuesday, Costco Wholesale Corp, the largest U.S. warehouse club operator, said it has seen increased demand for items like rice and flour as customers, worried about global food shortages and rising prices, stock up.

Sam's Club, the No. 2 U.S. warehouse club operator, is limiting sales of the 20-pound (9 kg), bulk bags of rice to four bags per customer per visit, and is working with suppliers to ensure the products remain in stock. ~ read more

Americans hoard food as industry seeks regs
By Patrice Hill
April 23, 2008
Farmers and food executives appealed fruitlessly to federal officials yesterday for regulatory steps to limit speculative buying that is helping to drive food prices higher. Meanwhile, some Americans are stocking up on staples such as rice, flour and oil in anticipation of high prices and shortages spreading from overseas.

Their pleas did not find a sympathetic audience at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), where regulators said high prices are mostly the result of soaring world demand for grains combined with high fuel prices and drought-induced shortages in many countries.

The regulatory clash came amid evidence that a rash of headlines in recent weeks about food riots around the world has prompted some in the United States to stock up on staples.

Costco and other grocery stores in California reported a run on rice, which has forced them to set limits on how many sacks of rice each customer can buy. Filipinos in Canada are scooping up all the rice they can find and shipping it to relatives in the Philippines, which is suffering a severe shortage that is leaving many people hungry. ~ read more

Era of cheap food ends as prices surge
Steve Hawkes, Greg Hurst and Valerie Elliott
Families have been warned that the prices of basic foods will rise steeply again because of acute shortages in commodity markets.

Experts told The Times yesterday that prices of rice, wheat and vegetable oil would rise further. They also forecast that high prices and shortages — which have caused riots in developing countries such as Bangladesh and Haiti — were here to stay, and that the days of cheap produce would not return. Food-price inflation has already pushed up a typical family’s weekly shopping bill by 15 per cent in a year.

A further 15 per cent increase in the price of a standard Kingsmill loaf would push it up from £1.09 ($2.16) to £1.24. ($ 2.45) Butter has gone up by 62 per cent in the past year. A similar rise would bring the price of a 250g (1/2 lb.) pack to £1.52. ($3.00)

The price of rice, which has almost tripled in a year, rose 2 per cent on the Chicago Board of Trade yesterday as the United Nations food agency gave warning that millions faced starvation because aid agencies were unable to meet the additional financial burden. ~ read more

meanwhile the lsu agcenter rice research station reports on their blog that:
Young rice struggling
Good news and bad news at the Zaunbrecher field after a walk through the field Wednesday.
The herbicide used for the Juncus has soundly knocked the weed down. “That’s the best job on Juncus I’ve ever seen,” said Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter rice specialist. In the photo below, the dead Juncus can be seen at the base of a rice plant.But he was concerned that the rice is looking feeble and much of it is laying on the surface of the water. ~ read more