February 18th, 2011
08:04 AM GMT
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(CNN) – In Shandong Province in northeastern China, the nation's grain heartland, the worst drought in 60 years has raised the specter of shortages for the world's largest wheat producer.

Russia - still reeling from a drought that slashed wheat harvest by nearly 40% and spurred Moscow to ban exports last summer - hopes new, resilient strains of the crop will lead to a resumption of wheat exports. However, soil damaged by the drought means nearly 10% of Russian wheat fields couldn't be planted this year.

Social media may have fanned the flames of revolt which toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt and triggered demonstrations across the Middle East. But the tinderbox was built on high unemployment, corruption and rising food prices. It's a telling sign that the trouble in Tunisia started with the self immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor protesting the police seizure of his produce cart.

"I think that we have to be careful, as an international community, not to let food prices become not [only] a national security threat in countries, but a global security threat," Ngozi Iweala, managing director of the World Bank, told CNN.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Spock_rhp, Miami, FL

    Meanwhile, one of the bigger causes of higher food prices continues as if there is nothing of interest happening and refuses to reconsider its plans. I refer, of course, to the 40% of the American corn harvest [the world's largest corn harvest] that we insist on pouring into our gas tanks in the form of ethanol.

    Subsidies to make and sell ethanol are figured to be $1.78 per gallon [including the lower mileage effect that ethanol delivers to vehicles]. Surely, this is waste on a grand scale and, arguably, a blow by one of the world's richest nations directly to the world's poorest peoples.

    No wonder America has fewer friends in the world than she needs.

    February 20, 2011 at 12:46 am |
  2. Justina

    The difference between rich citizens and poor citizens are widening in rich countries(It's already too wide in poor countries). So are the difference between rich countries and poor countries. Meanwhile the environment and creatures continue to be destroyed wastefully by mankind. Some staunch mismanagement here in this planet.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  3. icons design

    What charming answer

    September 22, 2012 at 2:25 am |

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Quest Means Business airs Monday to Friday, 1600 New York and 2100 London, and is hosted by Richard Quest.



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