Who Ate My Rice?

There was a significant hike in the prices of rice in US. Some varieties of rice is just not available any more in most Asian grocery stores.

I heard that American top leaders including George Bush blaming India and China for the shortage saying that people from those countries are eating more as the middle class is becoming wealthy. As stupid as it looks, even if that is true it only expose the real issue behind US's own terribly huge consumption. [ Image Credits: Photo by Genemoo @ Flickr]

Read the other post where I learnt that the problem with what and how America eats is a lot bigger and worse than it appears What is wrong with what Americans eat.

I am trying to decipher the hidden meaning of these Market signals, and I found some surprising and totally shocking information on who consumes the most grains in the world. If I just say it, you probably won't believe it. So , I found this article that substantiate in real numbers. I put the information represented in this article in charts so it will put the differences in better shape.

Remember Rice is an integral and key part of every Indian meal, and yet they consume so less.

Per-Capita Rice Consumption

Rice Consumption (India vs US)

Rice Consumption (India vs US)

Per-Capita Beef Consumption

Beef Consumption

So now you see the point. Somehow, Americans are totally eating all my rice, though rice is not a primary diet for them. Obviously, rice and beef is not everything that you will see stark and  huge difference in consumption. But you get the point.  Read the following article excerpts for more.

Due to their huge populations, countries like India and China may appear to consume gigantic amounts of food. But the real elephant in the room that nobody is willing to talk about is how much each person gets to eat. And the answer will shock many. Total food grain consumption — wheat, rice, and all coarse grains like rye, barley etc — by each person in the US is over five times that of an Indian, according to figures released by the US Department of Agriculture for 2007. Each Indian gets to eat about 178 kg of grain in a year, while a US citizen consumes 1,046 kg.

In per capita terms, US grain consumption is twice that of the European Union and thrice that of China. Grain consumption includes flour and by conversion to alcohol.  In fact, per capita grain consumption has increased in the US — so actually the Americans are eating more. In 2003, US per capita grain consumption was 946 kg per year which increased to 1046 kg last year.

By way of comparison, India’s per capita grain consumption has remained static over the same period. It’s not just grains. Milk consumption, in fluid form, is 78 kg per year for each person in the US, compared to 36 kg in India and 11 kg in China. Vegetable oils consumption per person is 41 kg per year in US, while Indians are making do with just 11 kg per year. These are figures for liquid milk, not for cheese, butter, yogurt and milk powders which are consumed in huge proportion in the more advanced countries.  A significant proportion of India’s population is vegetarian, and so, this is all the food that they get, apart from vegetables and pulses. But the source of carbohydrates and fats is mainly derived from food grains and oils.

URL: US eats 5 times more than India per capita - Times of India

Source: US eats 5 times more than India per capita - Times of India

Still not convinced, read this New York Times article “Rethinking The Meat-Guzzler“. One of the key take-aways from this article on typical consumption and the effect of producing that heavy meat demand how America is contributing to environment.

Doesn't size of population in China and India matter?

It does. But that is not the point.  What gives the right to Americans to eat SO much?  And why people from other countries are so less privileged to access to food grains. So long, they couldn't afford. Not they are catching up. If they do what Americans do, the whole world will be in deep trouble. For sure, because of its sheer size. In a global economy, every world citizen must adjust, and I guess it has to start from Americans as much as it is from China and India, for they eat so much of 'every thing' starting from food grains to meat and drinks to causing an alarming rate of pollution.


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