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Let them Eat Cake!

Let them Eat Cake!

What could possibly bring Kipp to use that phrase (incorrectly attributed to Marie Antoinette)? Food prices, of course. At this rate there will be no cake for anyone…

March 3, 2011 5:30 by

As a child, Kipp was often told “A hungry man is an angry man.”

No doubt. Our longer than usual wait for the pizza delivery man last night proved that to us, we think. That was what we tried to console ourselves with when, an hour later, stomachs full, our guilty conscience pricked over the less than friendly way we treated the delivery man’s excuse of “T-t-t-traffic.” Anyway, Kipp’s brief brush with starvation has helped us have a greater appreciation for the ongoing discussion about rising food prices, and consequently the threat of food shortages in the UAE.

Okay, so we’re being facetious again, and we should stop. It’s not good to make light of what is actually shaping up to be a rather serious situation. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) food prices were at a major high in January – the highest in over two decades. In Abu Dhabi, the price of meat in the emirate went up by 9.12 percent in 2010, and the price of fish rose by 5.6 percent, according to numbers from the Statistics Centre in Abu Dhabi.

The cause? To quote Saeed al Romaithi, the vice chairman of the Union of Co-operative Societies, the reason for the hike in prices include “poor harvests caused by bad weather and natural disasters, high oil prices, shortages in strategic reserves and population growth.” Of course, unrest in Libya and other Middle East and North Africa countries has led to a disruption of and doubts about oil production and consequently a rise in oil prices.

Yet a recent report from the government suggests that part of the problem might just be over consumption; especially for us in the MENA region. Even though the daily calorie requirement for a person averages out to 2,700 calories a day, the report shows that residents in the Middle East and North Africa region purchase an average of 3,600 per day. And this over-consumption has not been significantly altered by the increase in prices: residents continue to buy and eat more than needed.

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