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‘Staff of life’ wavers under weight of humanity

November 26, 2010

From MSNBC

By CHARLES J. HANLEY

 In these volcanic valleys of central Mexico, on the Canadian prairie, across India’s northern plain, they sow and they reap the golden grain that has fed us since the distant dawn of farming. But along with the wheat these days comes a harvest of worry.

Yields are not keeping up with a world growing hungrier. Crops are stunted in a world grown warmer. A devastating fungus, a wheat “rust,” is spreading out of Africa, a grave threat to the food plant that covers more of the planet’s surface than any other.

In Chicago, London and other money centers, the wheat market is so roiled by bad news and speculators that rising prices may put bread out of reach for millions more of the world’s poor.

As he tended his 2 mile-high field here, where ripening grain nodded in the wind, Jose Emiglio Taboada was troubled — about a changing climate, about crop diseases, about “really, really expensive” fuel and fertilizer.

From MSNBC

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