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Inflation on the plate

Inflation on the plate
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First Published: Fri, Dec 21 2007. 12 39 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Dec 21 2007. 12 39 AM IST
Today is Id-ul-Zuha and thus a good reason to long for a plate of mutton biryani. But economics may intervene. For example, media reports say that festivities in Dubai may be muted because of a 30% rise in meat prices.
This is but the most recent indication that food prices have gone up, up and away this year. Global wheat prices touched record highs this week. The Food and Agriculture Organization has rightly called for urgent action to help the poor deal with the effects of high food prices.
There is little doubt that growing prosperity is driving up food prices. Products such as corn have been diverted to produce ethanol for fuel. Meanwhile, global warming has hit farm output. Does this mean that we are headed for Malthusian hell? Not necessarily. As in the 1960s, human ingenuity will help us deal with this undoubtedly important problem. More investment and open markets, too, would help. Peak oil? Perhaps. Peak food? No way.
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First Published: Fri, Dec 21 2007. 12 39 AM IST
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