15 August 1997
"Grain crisis poised to hit economies"

THE Worldwatch Institute report to be published tomorrow warns that shrinking supplies of grain, leading to rising prices, may soon cause economic and political instability.

The Agricultural Link says food supplies could be the first area in which environmental deterioration will cause economic difficulties.

The US Department of Agriculture believes global grain production will keep pace with increased demand, with just a slight upward pressure on prices.

But report author Lester Brown believes that about 1.3 billion people who live on $1 a day or less will be unable to feed their families if prices continue to rise.

Nations must focus effort on climate and population stabilisation to avoid a disaster, he says. Arable land and water must be protected from conversion to non-farm use.

  • Financial Times 15/08/97 page 23