Sunday, December 28, 2008

doom and gloom for the new year


"...the growth in hunger is not occurring, as in the past, because of shortage of food – but because people cannot afford to buy it even when it is plentiful. The main reason has been that high food prices have priced the poor out of the market..."
A new FAO report shows that this year's grain crop is set to grow by 5.4 per cent to 2,241 million tons, following a 6 per cent rise last year – ahead of population growth.

So writes The Independent

One billion people will go hungry around the globe next year for the first time in human history.
Some 963 million people are now undernourished worldwide, according to the most recent survey of the crisis by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and the UN body expects the situation to worsen with the recession. "The number will rise steadily next year," an FAO spokesman told the IoS last week. "We are looking at a billion people. That is clear." The FAO fears the tally will go on increasing for years to come.
Rich countries have failed to provide promised money to boost agriculture in the Third World; the financial crisis is starving developing countries of credit and driving their people into greater poverty, and food aid to the starving is expected to begin drying up next month. This directly contradicts an undertaking by the world's leaders at a special summit in September 2000 to "reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger" from 1990 levels by 2015, as part of an ambitious set of Millennium Development Goals.

Over the 12 months until last summer, wheat and maize prices more than doubled and rice prices more than tripled. This was due partly to the growth in biofuels which, the FAO reports, has taken over 100 million tons of cereals out of food supplies over the past year to fuel cars instead. One fill of a 4x4's tank uses enough grain to feed one poor person for a year.

And they claim capitalism and the market is an efficient method for providing for the world !!!

1 comment:

a very public sociologist said...

It's going to be a claim that will be increasingly untenable these next 12 months. I hope we, as socialists, are able to seize on this to make our case even stronger.