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Unit 7 Text B A worldwide food crisis?翻译,原文和录音

[2018年11月6日] 来源:新视野大学英语Unit 7 编辑:给力英语网   字号 [] [] []  

A worldwide food crisis?

1 Historically only local governments worried about a widespread food crisis but today a sharp spike in food prices and the resulting food crisis can quickly become a worldwide phenomenon. Recent droughts along the equator and in Russia and Ukraine  two countries which account for one-fourth of world wheat exports  caused wheat prices to surge. Many worry the tight supply will cause inflationary prices. They fear the skyrocketing grain costs in 2007 which harshly struck the world's poor and led to food riots will recur.

2 Is their fear grounded? Consultancy firms measuring the status of commodities like wheat don't think so. Stocks of wheat are at sufficiently high levels and harvest turnout from other big producers like the US is expected to stay strong. So unlike in 2007 the supply situation isn't desperate meaning wheat prices should eventually calm down and level off.

3 However this rosy picture provides only temporary security. The bigger picture discloses a reality not so optimistic. Though current prices aren't as sky-high as in the panicked market of 2007 they're still at higher levels than before and are likely to stay that way. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development sees the average prices of products classified as essential such as grains vegetable oils and dairy products rising for the next decade.

4 It doesn't take an oracle to foretell that the fight to feed the world will be a huge challenge facing the global economy over the next 20 years. Food production is suffering from decades of neglect of agriculture a period when the sector was starved of the resources and technology it needed to keep up with rising world demand. Though more and more people are intrigued by the issue and there is a growing global consensus about the need for reform in farming we're really only at the beginning of a long expensive process of repairing world agricultural practices. That means food prices will stay high over the next several years as will the risk of dangerous price fluctuations like the current one with wheat.

5 Food isn't like garments or other products traded on world markets. The issue of food is filled with emotion. Intermittent uncertainty in food markets will animate people to act when they would otherwise remain calm. No country for example wants to run out of food or watch sky-high prices push people into poverty and malnourishment. That can lead to riots or even revolutions. When emotions are running high enough grain exporters and importers may take extreme measures to prevent a shortage like hoarding and panic-driven wholesale purchases. In other words the overreaction of market players will act like a pistol to the head creating a crisis when none should exist.

6 Will current prices stay high and volatile? Probably yes. There are enormous structural problems with the agriculture industry that have caused the great imbalance between supply and demand. These problems have a dual nature one part of it on the production side and the other on the consumption side.

7 On the production side global funding for rural infrastructure or technological research to keep yields growing has been very small well below what is needed to keep crises at bay and to meet our future food demands. But in the past whenever economists predicted massive shortages technological advances like higher-yield strains of wheat would overcome the difference and rescue civilizations from large-scale starvation.

8 On the consumption side citizens of wealthier countries have grown accustomed to consuming more food than they need and eating more costly types of food like meat. This means more grain gets turned into livestock feed instead of food for people. Add in the new demand for bio-fuels and you get a recipe for disaster. As an excerpt from a pamphlet by activist Peter Singer explains: " … the problem isn't that we are producing too little food; rather we're not eating the food we grow. Nearly 100 million tons of grain per year is turned into bio-fuel that goes into gas tanks. The problem is that we  the relatively affluent  have created a system of piracy where we consume four or five times as much food as would be possible if we were to actually eat the crops we grow directly."

9 How can we neutralize this problem and dodge the future crisis? The solution lies at the intersection of money and time. Councilors legislators and bureaucratic agencies of some countries like India and Senegal have had the foresight to realize this fact and are giving more subsidies to agriculture.

10 More than ever we need the appropriation of time and money away from the army and the militia and toward creating a coherent international plan to deal with hunger. We are about to rupture at the seams with the world population expected to grow by 2.3 billion between 2009 and 2050. It is estimated that feeding a population of nine billion would require a 70 percent increase in global food production between 2007 and 2050. Why such a discrepancy? The rapidly growing population not only needs more basic foods like grains but also enjoys foods higher up on the food chain like meat. They desire not only the basic essentials of life but also more sophisticated technologies like automobiles that use bio-fuels!

11 All signposts point to the need for food production in developing countries to almost double. To achieve this goal an enormous investment in agriculture from various sources is needed. Governmental agencies non-profit organizations agricultural scientists private investors and charitable donors all must partner together to build the capacity of the developing world to answer this tremendous need for food.

12 While we may not be seeing all the symptoms of a food shortage syndrome yet we must be clear-eyed in our on-going support of food production. The message is explicit: We are on a collision course. But the problem is soluble. Like climbing a staircase we must do it carefully and consistently if we are to reach our goal and prevent a global food crisis.