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Posts Tagged ‘prices

The fitful pulse of an Indian food staple

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RG_pulses_prices_201405

The history of consumer price indices for pulses in India’s ordinary shops and bazaars since 2006 January is one of five periods. The first, from 2006 January to 2008 June, is of a rise in some pulse foods, a decline in a few, and little movement in others. The second period is one of a rise in concert from 2008 June to 2010 January, some pulse foods rising very steeply and not others – whole moong did but not whole urad, masur dal did but peas did not, horse gram did but not rajmah.

The third period, from 2010 February to 2011 August, is an overall lowering of the price indices for almost all pulse foods. This happened when the general food price index rose quickly and stayed high – but pulses remained relatively unaffected. That insulation, the fourth period, didn’t last long, from 2011 September till around 2012 May (even shorter for some pulse foods).

The fifth period began around 2011 July for some pulses, and two months later for others, and is continuing. This is a period of volatility in the price indices of the pulses group to an extent not seen in the previous seven years – peas rises but not gram, horse gram and rajmah shot up but raungi and white gram dipped, whole masur and whole moong soared while besan fell and papad remained flat.

The data I have taken from the monthly itemised retail consumer price indices, weighed to be all-India, for industrial workers with their base of 100 being in 2001, and compiled by the Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.

At the end of the second quarter of 2014, the spread of price index values for the pulses group of our staple foods is wider than at any time in the last eight years. It is this food group that provides the nutritional balance and is a culturally rich source of protein in everyday meals and popular home-made snacks. The overall price rise these charts graphically illustrate, and the uncertainty about their availability (which is what the recent volatility of the individual index lines show) are evidence of the threat to the nutritional security of many millions of rural and urban households in India.

Written by makanaka

May 23, 2014 at 20:39

Two films on social struggle: Egypt’s unfinished revolution, Kenya’s ‘unga’ revolution

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Although Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down in February 2011, the uprisings in Egypt continue. While the uniting rallying cry may have been against dictatorship, the struggle in Egypt that took headlines across the world in early 2011 reflected deeper social, political, and economic problems. The key demands of the revolution have still not been met. The continuation of military rule and the promise of more neoliberal economic policies lead many to believe it will be a long battle.

Protesters in Egypt are hopeful, however, as people all over the world revolt against an economic system that benefits the few at the expense of the many. This short documentary looks at the economic factors that led to the revolution, the reality of living under military rule, and brings up questions over the legitimacy of the current elections.

Rising prices and inflation in Kenya prompted the creation of a movement led by a grassroots civil society group, Bunge la Mwananchi, or The People’s Parliament. It staged demonstrations throughout the year to pressurise the Kenyan government to bring down the price of unga, or maize flour. IRIN’s latest film, ‘Kenya’s Unga Revolution’, follows one of Bunge la Mwananchi’s activists, Emily Kwamboka, as she takes to the streets to demand change in the lives of ordinary Kenyans.

Throughout 2011, Kenyans have faced the strain of rising food and fuel prices. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, late and erratic rainfall led to an estimated 3.75 million people across the country becoming food-insecure. The World Bank’s Food Price Watch report states that the price of maize rose by 43 percent globally between September 2010 and September 2011.

IRIN’s latest film, ‘Kenya’s Unga Revolution‘, follows one of Bunge la Mwananchi’s activists, Emily Kwamboka, as she takes to the streets to demand change in the lives of ordinary Kenyans. “It’s high time people wake up. We need masses in this struggle. This is a fight that can’t be fought by just one or two people,” she told IRIN. Particularly affected were those living in Kenya’s urban areas, especially slum-dwellers. “Things have become so expensive, people are not even able to buy vegetables,” said Joash Otieno, a resident of Mathare, one of Nairobi’s slums. “Those who live in Mathare and other slums earn very low incomes,” he added.

The rising prices and inflation prompted the creation of a movement led by a grassroots civil society group, Bunge la Mwananchi, or The People’s Parliament. It staged demonstrations throughout the year to pressurize the Kenyan government to bring down the price of unga, or maize flour, from Ksh120 (US$1.40) a kilo, to KSh30 ($0.34).

Grain market outlook, end October 2010

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The International Grains Council has released its October 2010 grain market report. The IGC has said that the outlook for world grains supplies in 2010-11 tightened further in the past month. Although prospects for wheat and barley crops are broadly unchanged from previously, the forecast of world maize production is cut, due to reduced crop expectations in the US and China.

Wheat: With northern hemisphere harvesting nearly complete, the IGC projection of world wheat output is kept at 644 mt, a fall of 33 mt from the previous year, with reduced estimates for some countries notably the US and Australia, offset by increases for others, including China.

Maize: Reflecting worsening production prospects in the US and China, the forecast of global maize production is cut by 10 mt to 814 mt (811 mt), still a record.

Rice: At 449 mt tons, the IGC forecast of global rice production in 2010-11 is almost 5 mt lower than in September, largely reflecting a smaller-than anticipated official projection of India’s main crop.

At 1,730 million tons, global grain output is projected 11 mt lower than in September and 3% below the previous year. By far the biggest decline is in the CIS – mostly in Russia – due to the drought. Within the total, much of the fall reflects smaller wheat and barley outturns, only marginally offset by a larger maize crop. In the southern hemisphere, prospects for wheat remain favourable, except for parts of Australia, while the maize outlook improved in Argentina.

World grains consumption is projected slightly higher, at 1,785 mt, mainly because of increased feed forecasts for the EU and US. In the US, where the total includes a residual element, it is largely an adjustment for the use of early-harvested maize before the new marketing year began. However, global use of grain will be 1.5% higher than in 2009-10, underpinned by increases in all demand sectors. With global grains use set to exceed output for the first time in four years, world end-of-season stocks are expected to fall by 54 mt, to 345 mt. Nevertheless, they would still be nearly one-quarter above the 2006-07 low.

Although wheat and coarse grains prices have posted large gains since July, world grains trade in 2010-11 is projected to be marginally above the previous year’s total, at 240 mt, reflecting this month’s upward revisions for maize and wheat. World wheat trade is expected to decline, but this will be more than offset by a rise in maize import demand. A shortfall of nearly 30 mt in CIS exports is expected to be balanced by larger shipments by other exporters, notably the US, Argentina, Australia and India.

Written by makanaka

October 30, 2010 at 19:35