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Food & agriculture - Aug 15

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Tanzania: Families Dig Deeper Into Pockets to Put Food on Their Tables

Edward Selasini, Arusha Times
Prices of basic foodstuffs including cooking oil have shot up drastically in Arusha many of the traders pointing an accusing finger at the recent increase in petrol, diesel and other petroleum products.

The rise in fuel and consumer goods prices is attributed to adjustments made in the national budget announced last month.

A survey carried out by this reporter has shown that the prices of maize, beans and rice in the major markets of Kilombero and the central market have gone by at least 20 per cent and some as high as almost 50 percent.

.A businessman who chose anonymity at the Kilombero market said rice from Mbeya originally sold at Tsh.80,000 is now sold at Tsh.100,000 per sack of 100kg due to the rise in haulage charges. He explained that with the new hiked wholesale prices he had no choice but to increase the retail prices as well.

The Magugu rice variety, whose transportation charges would be lower considering the short distance, has gone up from Tsh.70,000 to Tsh.90,000 per sack of 100kg

An eighteen litres container of sunflower cooking oil from Singida is now sold at Tsh.36,000 from the old price of Tsh.28,000.

Sunflower oil is commonly used in frying and cooking in homes, restaurants and "mama ntilie". As a result of the hike, food even the most basic sold along streets and at workplaces, has gone up by almost 20 percent.
(11 August 2007)

Prices for key foods are rising sharply

Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy Newspapers
The Labor Department's most recent inflation data showed that U.S. food prices rose by 4.1 percent for the 12 months ending in June, but a deeper look at the numbers reveals that the price of milk, eggs and other essentials in the American diet are actually rising by double digits.

Already stung by a two-year rise in gasoline prices, American consumers now face sharply higher prices for foods they can't do without. This little-known fact may go a long way to explaining why, despite healthy job statistics, Americans remain glum about the economy.

Meeting with economic writers last week, President Bush dismissed several polls that show Americans are down on the economy. He expressed surprise that inflation is one of the stated concerns.

"They cite inflation?" Bush asked, adding that, "I happen to believe the war has clouded a lot of people's sense of optimism."

But the inflation numbers reveal the extent to which lower- and middle-income Americans are being pinched.
(14 August 2007)
I was surpised to see the Quaker saying "Speak truth to power" used as the motto for the McClatchy news site. Carolyn Baker also uses it as the title of her site: Speaking Truth to Power. -BA

Contributor Jeffrey J. Brown writes:
I've described the American consumer as someone standing at a four way intersection with four 18 wheelers speeding his way--(1) rising food and energy prices; (2) rising health care costs and rising (short term) interest rates as adjustable interest rate loans reset; (3) increasing competition for jobs and (4) declining real estate values.

In other words, the American consumer is caught between two inflationary "trucks" and two deflationary "trucks."

My "ELP" Recommendation: Economize; Localize & Produce.

Global warming boosts crop disease

Global warming will fuel a disease that annually causes hundreds of million dollars in damage to rapeseed plants, used to make canola oil, according to a study released Tuesday.

Using weather-based computer models, researchers in Britain predicted that climate change will expand the range and increase the severity of phoma stem canker, which already accounts for 900 million dollars (650 million euros) in losses each year.
(14 August 2007)

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