Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 19, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
14 LeTHBRIDGE iiiMday, February 19, 1974 Precarious grain balance sought Food cost relief remains far off By DOUG SMALL ROME (CP) The spectre of widespread famine has been temporarily buried by big grain harvests last year. International food production, set back severely by Soviet crop failures in 1972, is expected to exceed average annual levels of the last two decades. Yet-consumers in richer Battle Potato Beetles FOR AS LITTLE AS AN ACRE GUTHON Spray Concentrate Fast knockdown Long-lasting control Easy to use. Apply any tone Colorado potato' beetles hit, up to 7 days before harvest Saves money Order from your supplier now. RESPOMSEabifrfr to you and nature CHEMAGRO LIMITED 77 City Cenlre Drive Mississauga countries like Canada can expect little, if any, relief from record high food costs for at least another two years. And poorer countries can look forward to sharp new hunger pangs. World farm officials at recent Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) meetings here agreed that food, most of which can be traced back to grain, will remain expensive. Grain-growing countries, now refilling bins following a year of record demand, are interested in "stabilizing" production and prices so that supply never again overpowers demand. They are after what Canadian Agriculture Minister Eugene Whelan described in a speech to the FAO as a "precarious balance" between "ample production" and "socially acceptable income" for farmers. Outstripped Although people in many parts of the world have al- ways been hungry, there has generally been more farm produce than buyers in the last 20 years. The situation peaked in Canada with a billion- bushel grain surplus in the late 1960s. In 1970 the Liberal government introduced a production- slashing program called LIFT, for Lower Inventories For Tomorrow, which paid fanners to take wheatland out of production. Just as grain production and carryover were beginning to reach normal levels, the Russians were hit with the 1972 crop failure. Demand and prices shot up as the Soviets bought record amounts of grain from Western mar- kets. Canada, like the United States and other big producers asked fanners for full-out production and are making similar pleas for 1974. Fanners have responded with big crops. Canada's wheat harvest, for instance, is estimated at 628.7 million bushels during 1972-73, seventh-largest on record, and grain exports reached a record 798.2 million bushels. That is 6.6 million bushels more than the year before. Meanwhile, stocks in VARZARI IRON LTD. 2MB 2nd AvuniM North LETHBRIOGE, ALBERTA 405-327-1296 038-49170 15 Tagish Road KAMLOOPS, B.C. 048-8150 CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT Reinforcing Steel Wire Mesh Bloc-Weld Tie Wire Form Ties Steel Supports Stucco Mesh Poly Film Form Oil Asphalt Coating Sonb Tube Vibrators Masonry Saws Trowels Wheel Barrows FASTENERS Capscrews Lag Screws Washers Nuts All thread Rod Anchor Bolts Canada and other grain- growing countries have reached a 20-year low. FAO officials have de- scribed 1973 crops as "most encouraging." International food production, which actually declined in 1972, forged ahead by "three or four per well above the average annual rise of about 2.9 per cent. But the paradox of high prices despite big crops, resulting from a growing world demand for more and better food, will probably mean increased hardships for consumers, particularly in about 100 developing countries. They import 50 per cent of the world's wheat. W. H. Pawley, director of the FAO's policy analysis division, said this year's big crops have made the world cereal balance "less precarious" but it remained to be seen whether demand in poorer countries would be cut by the higher prices. To counter future food shortages and FAO offered suggestions aimed at assuring all countries minimum grain reserves and establishing programs to help develping coun- tries become self- sufficient Dubious The grain-reserves proposal has drawn hesitant support from the United States and only slightly more enthusiastic backing from Canada. Both countries fear any major world food stockpiling pro- gram could again lead to price-flattening surpluses and that they would end up paying to protect other nations against future shortfalls. Other countries are worried about the program for different reasons. Malik Khuda Bakhsh, leader of Pakistan's delegation to the FAO conference, agreed that the majority of countries will Specialists in all types of ENGINE REBUILDING CYLINDER BORING AND RESLEEVING CRANKSHAFT REGRINDING Ask about our Quarantac ENGINES CRANKSHAFTS WISCONSIN ENGINE Sales and Service Centre Custom Engine Parts Ltd. 1605 3rd Avenue South Phone 328-8181 have to rely on imports to build up stockpiles of grain. "Building up of stocks through imports in a period when international prices are high may tend to support high prices longer than would otherwise be necessary. "The surplus countries would, therefore, benefit while deficit countries may have to bear a high cost for implementing a national stock policy." In the meantime, Mr. Bakhsh added, the world should be looking for solutions to the current tight food situation. "In countries where people spend about 70-80 per cent of their income on food, shortage in supplies or increase in the price of basic foodstuffs cannot be offset by increased expenditure. "It can only drive a subsistence diet below the subsistence level." FORAGE AND SALINE OIL Soils containing salts should be tested to see what kind of forage will have the best chance of survival. An Agriculture Canada scientist says saline soils reduce plant growth by restricting the amount of water available to the plant, and, in some cases, by direct toxicity to plants. To minimize the effects of salts, early spring or late fall seeding is recommended. 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