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The Jolly Farmer

Biofuel and diet sow seeds of farm crunch - Telegraph

The farm crunch has been creeping up on the world for 20 years. Food output has risen at 1.3pc a year: the number of mouths at 1.35pc.

What has abruptly changed is the twin revolution of biofuel politics and Asia's switch to an animal-protein diet. Together, they have shattered the fragile equilibrium.

The world's grocery bill has jumped 21pc this year to $745bn (」355bn), hence the food riots ripping through West Africa, Morocco, Yemen, Bengal, and Indonesia....

Malthus may yet be outwitted. Fuel cells and solar panels may come to the rescue. GM crops may gives us another Green Revolution. The price of oil may crash again, cooling the biofuel craze for another cycle.

Rich countries will not starve. But as Japan's Marubeni Institute warns, they may face a return to post-War food rationing long before the world population peaks in the middle of the century.

Investors who want to take advantage of agflation must tread with care, both for moral reasons and questions of timing. Grains have already had a torrid run for the past two years.

My colleague Tom Stevenson recommends Hugh Hendry's CF Eclectica Agriculture fund. Or there are the big agro-industrial giants such as Bunge, ADM, or Südzucker. Or just buy land.

Comments

So what you're saying is that farming is a growing business?

I've started seeing ads saying that we THROW AWAY one third of all the food we buy. No idea who is doing the ads or why, but if this is true, a reversal would certainly help.

I scour my local Waitrose for all the sell-by discounted items, as the only thing with a date is the packaging, I throw that away, and enjoy the contents sometimes days, even weeks, later. It has not killed my yet - 66 next week.

Alan Douglas

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