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NOMADMan BS: IsaacGate Obama's Levees Fail (129* d) RE: BS: IsaacGate Obama's Levees Fail 02 Sep 12


These will be my final words on the rice production/export question. I don't think this is really worth a huge, extended discussion.

I think it is fair to say that a 4th-grade lesson plan is probably not the best place to look for statistics on trading of a significant foodstuff in the international market. It is apparent that whoever wrote it just selected a few random statistics and wasn't quite knowledgeable about what he/she was looking at. We ended up with a nice, neat story, quite properly aimed at relatively unsophisticated 9-year-olds. Also, there is no indication of the time frame covered. The data look rather outdated.

For the record, here are the estimates of rice exports for the current year for the top 5 rice-exporting countries, again in millions of metric tons:
1) Thailand - 8.0
2) Vietnam - 7.0
3) India - 6.5
4) Pakistan - 4.6
5) USA - 3.1

These figures will change marginally from one year to the next, but in general, this is what we can expect for the foreseeable future.

About the statement that "without the US food exports, 20% of the world's people would starve":
This is a glib statement that has been circulating for some time. It keeps getting repeated over and over. I don't think it has ever or could ever be substantiated. Be aware though, that food production and distribution is a huge, multi-multi billion dollar business. There is lots of money to be made producing and selling food. There is nothing wrong with that. It is the way things work. Wherever there is money to be made producing or selling a good or service, someone will do it. So, I believe it would be more accurate to say "Without the US food exports, 20% of the world's people would be served by someone else."

One last note - as the world's climate continues to undergo drastic changes, some countries/regions will see their ability to produce food increase and others will see theirs decrease. We have no guarantee that the US will not fall into the latter category.

Regards,
John


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