In Haiti, people are eating mud.
We’re not making this up. There’s a photo of a miserable woman making mud cakes in Port-au-Prince, in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.
For the benefit of readers who wish to cut their food budgets, the Telegraph gives us the recipe: you simply mix clay with salt and vegetable fat and lay it out in the sun to cook – like mud pies. Then, you call them “biscuits.”
Last time we looked, mud was not one of the main food groups recommended by dieticians. But all over the world, poor people have to make do with what they can find. Rice is the staple food in Haiti, and it’s trebled in price in the last year, says the Telegraph . Other grains are not far behind. Since January of 2007, wheat has gone up 200% and corn 150%.
Desperate poor have already rioted in 34 countries this year. The ghost of Thomas Malthus, if he bothers to read the paper, must be saying, “I told you so.” Malthus predicted that population would grow faster than food supplies. Millions of people would starve, he predicted. Now, it looks like he might have been too optimistic. He died in 1834. Since then, a series of happy events and technological developments greatly increased the supply of food…while war and family planning reduced the number of mouths to be fed. Now, it appears that the gains from mechanization, bioengineering, chemistry and land clearing may have reached their limits. We may soon reach “Peak Food”…the point at which the world can produce no more food. But the human population – especially the part of it that doesn’t eat at the Tour d’Argent in Paris – keeps growing. Experts predict that the world’s population will grow by 3 billion people over the next 40 years – a 50% increase. Where will the world get 50% more food? At what price? Who knows…but one thing is sure: there will be plenty of opportunities for the world-improvers to make things worse.
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