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2008 World Net Daily


WASHINGTON – From India to Africa to North Korea to Pakistan and even in New York City, higher grain prices, fertilizer shortages and rising energy costs are combining to spell hunger for millions in what is being characterized as a global "silent famine."

Global food prices, based on United Nations records, rose 35 percent in the last year, escalating a trend that began in 2002. Since then, prices have risen 65 percent.

Last year, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's world food index, dairy prices rose nearly 80 percent and grain 42 percent.

"This is the new face of hunger," said Josetta Sheeran, director of the World Food Program, launching an appeal for an extra $500 million so it could continue supplying food aid to 73 million hungry people this year. "People are simply being priced out of food markets. ... We have never before had a situation where aggressive rises in food prices keep pricing our operations out of our reach."

The WFP launched a public appeal weeks ago because the price of the food it buys to feed some of the world's poorest people had risen by 55 percent since last June. By the time the appeal began last week, prices had risen a further 20 percent. That means WFP needs $700 million to bridge the gap between last year's budget and this year's prices. The numbers are expected to continue to rise.

The crisis is widespread and the result of numerous causes – a kind of "perfect storm" leading to panic in many places:

In Thailand, farmers are sleeping in their fields because thieves are stealing rice, now worth $600 a ton, right out of the paddies.

Four people were killed in Egypt in riots over subsidized flour that was being sold for profit on the black market.

There have been food riots in Morocco, Senegal and Cameroon.

Mexico's government is considering lifting a ban on genetically modified crops, to allow its farmers to compete with the United States.

Argentina, Kazakhstan and China have imposed restrictions to limit grain exports and keep more of their food at home.

Vietnam and India, both major rice exporters, have announced further restrictions on overseas sales.

Violent food protests hit Burkina Faso in February.

Protesters rallied in Indonesia recently, and media reported deaths by starvation.

In the Philippines, fast-food chains were urged to cut rice portions to counter a surge in prices.

Millions of people in India face starvation after a plague of rats overruns a region, as they do cyclically every 50 years.

Officials in Bangladesh warn of an emerging "silent famine" that threatens to ravage the region.

According to some experts, the worst damage is being done by government mandates and subsidies for "biofuels" that supposedly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and fight climate change. Thirty percent of this year's U.S. grain harvest will go to ethanol distilleries. The European Union, meanwhile, has set a goal of 10 percent bio-fuels for all transportation needs by 2010.

"A huge amount of the world's farmland is being diverted to feed cars, not people," writes Gwynne Dyer, a London-based independent journalist.

He notes that in six of the past seven years the human race has consumed more grain than it grew. World grain reserves last year were only 57 days, down from 180 days a decade ago.

One in four bushels of corn from this year's U.S. crop will be diverted to make ethanol, according to estimates.

"Turning food into fuel for cars is a major mistake on many fronts," said Janet Larsen, director of research at the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental group based in Washington. "One, we're already seeing higher food prices in the American supermarket. Two, perhaps more serious from a global perspective, we're seeing higher food prices in developing countries where it's escalated as far as people rioting in the streets."

Palm oil is also at record prices because of biofuel demands. This has created shortages in Indonesia and Malaysia, where it is a staple.

Nevertheless, despite the recognition that the biofuels industry is adding to a global food crisis, the ethanol industry is popular in the U.S. where farmers enjoy subsidies for the corn crops.

Another contributing factor to the crisis is the demand for more meat in an increasingly prosperous Asia. More grain is used to feed the livestock than is required to feed humans directly in a traditional grain-based diet.

Bad weather is another problem driving the world's wheat stocks to a 30-year low – along with regional droughts and a declining dollar.

"This is an additional setback for the world economy, at a time when we are already going through major turbulence," Angel Gurria, head of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, told Reuters. "But the biggest drama is the impact of higher food prices on the poor."

According to the organization, as well as the U.N., the price of corn could rise 27 percent in the next decade.

John Bruton, the European Union's ambassador to the U.S., predicts the current trend is the beginning of a 10-15 year rise in food costs worldwide.

The rodent plague in India occurs about every half century following the heavy flowering of a local species of bamboo, providing the rodents with a feast of high-protein foliage. Once the rats have ravaged the bamboo, they turn on the crops, consuming hundreds of tons of rice and corn supplies.

Survivors of the previous mautam, which heralded widespread famine in 1958, say they remember areas of paddy fields the size of four soccer fields being devastated overnight.

In Africa, rats are seen as part of the answer to the food shortage. According to Africa News, Karamojongs have resorted to hunting wild rats for survival as famine strikes the area.

Supplies of fertilizer are extremely tight on the worldwide market, contributing to a potential disaster scenario. The Scotsman reports there are virtually no stocks of ammonium nitrate in the United Kingdom.

Global nitrogen is currently in deficit, a situation that is unlikely to change for at least three years, the paper reports.

South Koreans are speculating, as they do annually, on how many North Koreans will starve to death before the fall harvest. But this year promises to be worse than usual.

Severe crop failure in the North and surging global prices for food will mean millions of hungry Koreans.

Roughly a third of children and mothers are malnourished, according to a recent U.N. study. The average 8-year-old in the North is 7 inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter than a South Korean child of the same age.

Floods last August ruined part of the main yearly harvest, creating a 25-percent shortfall in the food supply and putting 6 million people in need, according to the U.N. World Food Program.

Yesterday, the Hong Kong government tried to put a stop to panic-buying of rice in the city of 6.9 million as fears mounted over escalating prices and a global rice shortage. Shop shelves were being cleared of rice stocks as Hong Kong people reacted to news that the price of rice imported from Thailand had shot up by almost a third in the past week, according to agency reports.

Global food prices are even hitting home in New York City, according to a report in the Daily News. Food pantries and soup kitchens in the city are desperately low on staples for the area's poor and homeless.

The Food Bank for New York City, which supplies food to 1,000 agencies and 1.3 million people, calls it the worst problem since its founding 25 years ago.

Last year, the Food Bank received 17 million pounds of food through the Emergency Food Assistance Program, less than half of the 35 million pounds it received in 2002. And donations from individuals and corporations are also down about 50 percent, according to the report.

High gas prices, increased food production costs and moves to foreign production of food are contributing to the problem.





By Michael Mickey


Mark 13:8: For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

Did you know there is a silent famine crossing our globe today - a harbinger of things to come in the prophesied Tribulation Period that is, potentially, on the brink of beginning?

Consider the following excerpt from the World Net Daily above:

Global food prices, based on United Nations records, rose 35 percent in the last year, escalating a trend that began in 2002. Since then, prices have risen 65 percent.

Last year, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's world food index, dairy prices rose nearly 80 percent and grain 42 percent.
This is anything but a sign of better days coming for unrepentant mankind yet few are even aware this is going on. Thus, the reason it is being called a silent famine.

I have, in the past, addressed how we, as in humankind, are largely oblivious to what's going on around us these days.
We're too busy watching 200 channels of cable television, playing video games, racing here and there trying to get this and that done, talking on our cell phones, text messaging, etc. and so forth to watch the news. Sadly, even when we take time to flip on the evening news, it is just as likely we will hear what Paris Hilton is up to or information on the latest sex scandal as we are to hear what we actually need to hear. Then we add to the mess ourselves by not seeking out the information we need to be able to effectively feel the pulse of just how dire the situation in our world is becoming on a wide variety of fronts.

The warning signs of global famine being a possibility in the not-too-distant future should be a top news story but it isn't! And I wonder: Is anyone other than me amazed by how little concern the American public is showing concerning the high cost of gasoline these days, in the midst of a presidential election year no less? It's as though our entire society is asleep at the wheel. Hosea 4:6 quotes the Lord as saying,
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." While I'm taking what He said out of context here to make a point, how true His words are of our world today!

According to the Telegraph, "the World Bank said this week that the price of staple foods has risen by 80 per cent in the past three years." 80%, people! And why is that? Partially because of "bad weather", rising demand and maybe, just maybe, those walloping gasoline prices no one seems very interested to be putting the heat on government leaders to address.

Notice how bad things are becoming, as detailed in the Telegraph article:
For consumers in wealthy nations such as Britain soaring prices are squeezing household finances and keeping inflation up. But for developing nations they can lead to malnutrition and social disruption.
When people begin starving to death, consequences are going to come. Social disruption will come first and, ultimately, bloodshed.

The outlook for the future? Quite frankly, it can't get any better as the global population is continuing to rise - and astronomically at that. Each and every day we have more people on the planet to feed and less and less land to grow crops on! More and more potential farmland and forest is being swallowed up annually for residential housing, commercial development and the like with no let-up in sight.

As we look at Bible prophecy alongside current events, it isn't hard to see the scenario foretold in Bible prophecy concerning global famine besetting mankind in the future is well in the works right now, although it will not reach its height until mankind is inside the Tribulation Period itself. Yet another Telegraph article shows us how famine is already become a problem for all the world's nations. Consider the following:
The run on rice is threatening to disrupt world food supplies as much as banks' lack of confidence in each other has seen global credit markets dry up.

China, Egypt, Vietnam and India, representing more than a third of global rice exports, curbed sales this year, and Indonesia says it may do the same.

The price of rice, the staple food for half the world, rose 2pc to a record $20.910 per 100lbs in Chicago, double the price a year ago and a fivefold increase from 2001.
Already, nations that possess food and typically have been willing to share their harvests with the world via exporting their crops are now having to lessen their exports to be able to feed their own. The ripple effect from that impacts food prices and demand around the globe and you can bet that, depending on how hungry nations around the globe eventually become, the stronger nations, militarily-speaking, will eventually do what they have to lest their people starve in the streets.

Just how bad could it really get?

Revelation 6:5-6: And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

The passage above foresees a food shortage of unprecedented proportions coming to pass in the prophetic future - one that will be so far-reaching it will essentially cost a worker a day's wages to buy the ingredients for a loaf of bread! This is descriptive, in my opinion, of a global scarcity of food that has never been witnessed before.

Right now, at this very hour, the stage is being set for the fulfillment of all the Bible's yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecies to follow the path that those which have already been fulfilled did in times past.

While we are today hearing of a silent famine, a time is coming when global famine is going to be near the forefront of all mankind's collective consciousness! Fortunately for believers in Christ, I don't believe that is going to occur until the Rapture of the Church takes place and what is presently "the beginnings of sorrows" becomes far, far more!

While it's easy for someone to look at one issue or trend taking place in the world around us, compare it to Bible prophecy and dismiss it as coincidence, there are mountains of evidence contained on this site pointing toward the accuracy of Bible prophecy with much of what is documented here demonstrating that we're at the very brink of much of what is yet to come being literally fulfilled on multiple fronts - to the extent that I find it hard to believe that anyone could read through what has been documented here and conclude anything other than the Bible must be: true, the Word of God and irrefutable evidence that Jesus Christ is coming soon!

If you're reading this and you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, today is the day of salvation! Tomorrow may be too late.





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