Class Warfare take up the story of the global food crisis where it left off yesterday. The UN has announced it wants $500 a year extra to deal with the crisis. And it is a crisis! $500 million may sound a lot…well, it is…But it only provides food aid to about 75 million people in 78 countries, less than one tenth of those in dire need of it. Moreover, the figure pales into significance when compared to the cost of the
Officials at the UN’s World Food Programme argue that increases in the global price of basic foods are caused by a ‘perfect storm’ of factors: a rise in demand for animal feed from increasingly prosperous populations in India and China who have found a penchant for new meat stuffs, the use of more land and agricultural produce for biofuels, and climate change. Little wonder that for many of the world’s impoverished, up to 80% of their income goes on food
The UN could have cited other factors, such as a system that produced for profit not need, a system that creates the artificial scarcity of commodities in order to maintain profits.
Needless to say, there have been food riots in
Other countries has moved to head off food-fuelled protest.
For its part,
Prospects for the future look bleak, with climatic change anticipated to have a heavy impact in coming decades, with the growing demand for biofuels expected to take more land away from food production and with the rising demand fore meat products. The latter factor is all the more insane when it is considered that it takes 10 kilos of feed to produce one kilo of meat.
Throughout Africa NGOs and top scientists are calling for a moratorium on new biofuels projects as millions of acres of prime agricultural land in sub-Saharan Africa are switched from food to fuel. The Food and Agriculture Organisation have reported that 100 million tons of cereals are being diverted to the production of biofuels each year, a figure excessively unacceptable on a continent that has a long history of producing cash crops to service foreign debt. In the
The WFP is holding an emergency meeting this coming Friday in the hope it can further address the problem. Needless to say there will be no levelling of criticism at capitalism or its insane production motives, nor a call for an end to a system that prioritises profit over human need. Once again, the mechanisms of capitalism will once again be asked to solve a problem they bloody well help create. I wonder if they'll consider, though, the fact that 78% of the world's starving live in countries that actually produce a food surplus?