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article imageOp-Ed: Food to be worth an arm and a leg by 2030?

By Andrew Ardizzi     Jun 2, 2011 in Business
I'm a connoisseur of the finer things in life. Fine juice beverages in the morning, perhaps with something semi-edible. A bed to sleep in sans cockroaches or bed bugs. Yet I find myself all too often counting my pennies to ensure even those luxuries.
Oxfam, a U.K. based charity fighting poverty and suffering, announced May 31 they believe global food prices will increase by 70 to 90 per cent by 2030, while demand for varying foods will be 70 per cent higher than those levels by 2050, MSNBC recently reported.
This doesn't particularly bode well for you if, you know, you enjoy eating regularly. Most concerning are the present numbers offered by Oxfam which cites that 925-million people are hungry right now, while those numbers could exceed 1-billion by the end of 2011. Those numbers could easily rise to meet Oxfam's projections for 2030 considering both oil prices and the price inflation of goods.
Realities are what they are, and if the same inflationary pressure on citizens continues we will come to a point where the cost of living becomes so outrageous it will dwarf our means of subsistence. It will become an unaffordable luxury unless wages rise to meet the price inflation of food. Al-Jazeera English reports Oxfam suggests increasing regulation of speculation in the global food market to restrict the ability of companies to increase prices, and although I feel it's unlikely in today's starkly capitalist economy, I certainly believe constraining companies' abilities to gouge consumers at grocery stores has to be considered as an option.
A recent Globe and Mail report cites Canadians average about $25,597 in debt. I count myself among those people. With well over that figure in OSAP funding, along with my own credit card debt (not even factoring the difficulty of the job market) it's increasingly difficult to pay rent, buy groceries, or even enjoy another's company when it feels like our collective prime directive is gaining unsatisfactory employment just to scrape by from bill-to-bill. Meanwhile, handfuls of companies control how much we pay for goods and by extension how much bang we get for our buck. With resources becoming scarcer, it's only natural to compensate dwindling supplies by increasing costs to maximize short-term gain.
These are sound business practices, but we as consumers get lost in the shuffle while the majority of us don't make enough income to par with the cost of living. Over the last year in Canada the prices of food have increased substanially between April 2010 and April 2011, according to the latest Canadian consumer price index. Additionally, the cost of shelter has also increased and most alarmingly the cost of gasoline has increased exponentially over that same period. Compare that to the average national minimum wage among Canadians of $9.59 if you do some simple math with these numbers. Is it enough? Is it not? Who's to say? But looking at cost of living studies such as this, you have to wonder how much longer we can hold out at our present rate. Perhaps I'll be adjusting my breakfast options accordingly.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Oxfam, Inflation, Food prices, Food, Debt
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