Category Archives: Food Security
The Global Food Crisis is not over. Our obligations go beyond fixing the financial system,” says UN Special Rapporteur
26 June 2009
(GENEVA – NEW YORK) The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Mr. Olivier De Schutter, calls on decision-makers gathering in New York for the UN Conference on World Financial and Economic Crisis not to forget the global food prices crisis. This crisis is continuing in many countries. It is connected not only with the financial and economic crises, but also with the climatic/environmental crisis. Continue reading
Source: Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), Islamabad, Pakistan.
Hunger’s direct victims: Every year in Pakistan, over 420,000 children under the age of five die because of malnutrition that affects their health. In June 2008, the annual food price inflation was running at about 20% and this figure is feared to be looming at 34% by mid December because of widespread unemployment and economic meltdown. Price hike of the sensitive commodities also increased in some cases to 40% during the same period of the year when compared to 2006. In a country that boasts to be a nuclear power and leader of the “Muslim Ummah,” the UNICEF report estimated that 38% of all Pakistani children were underweight, 37% stunted and 13% “wasted or unable” to attain the expected weight in their entire childhood. Pakistan made “insufficient progress” in tackling the hunger and children malnutrition. In addition to these hunger indicators, an appalling 44% of the Pakistani population does not have access to tap-water and only 42% use fixed toilets.
What’s actually happening? Like many developing countries, Pakistan has been facing food shortage as an international phenomenon particularly in 2007. Not that the domestic management was perfect; the government’s Continue reading
Small farmers at risk from industrial-scale deals
Summit that’s hard to swallow – world leaders enjoy 18-course banquet as they discuss how to solve global food crisis
Just two days ago, Gordon Brown was urging us all to stop wasting food and combat rising prices and a global shortage of provisions.
But yesterday the Prime Minister and other world leaders sat down to an 18-course gastronomic extravaganza at a G8 summit in Japan, which is focusing on the food crisis.
The dinner, and a six-course lunch, at the summit of leading industrialised nations on the island of Hokkaido, included delicacies such as caviar, milkfed lamb, sea urchin and tuna, with champagne and wines flown in from Europe and the U.S.
G8 leaders discussing the world food crisis in Japan raise their glasses ahead of an 18-course dinner
But the extravagance of the menus drew disapproval from critics who thought it hypocritical to produce such a lavish meal when world food supplies are under threat.
On Sunday, Mr Brown called for prudence and thrift in our kitchens, after a Government report concluded that 4.1million tonnes of food was being wasted by householders.
He suggested we could save up to £8 a week by making our shopping go further. It was vital to reduce ‘unnecessary demand’ for food, he said. Continue reading
Here is an alternative and deeply ideological response to the current crisis of global economic system reflected by oil and food speculation and profit-greed at a scale unprecedented in the recent times.
At the heart of the crisis is the breakdown of the global economic system. For decades, politicians, corporate leaders and the media have subjected the world’s people to the self-serving claim that the capitalist market is the most rational means of allocating society’s resources. What is now being revealed is the basic conflict between the needs of a modern mass society and anarchy of the profit system.
It is impossible to ascertain any truthful estimates of remaining global supplies, because the oil producing countries and energy conglomerates have vested interests in concealing their “business secrets” from the people. Entrenched corporate and political opposition has also largely squelched large-scale development of environmentally safe and sustainable alternatives, although the technology has existed, in some cases, for decades.
Supposed solutions produced within the framework of the capitalist system have only worsened the crisis. The development of bio-fuels is a case in point. Even if one were to accept the widely disputed claims that bio-fuels are a means of reducing carbon emissions, their production has only led to a massive increase in the price of corn and other crops, wreaking havoc throughout the world. The entire project has been tied to the interests of agri-business monopolies, such as ADM and Cargill, which have an overriding concern, not in ending global warming, but boosting their bottom lines.
The rational use of remaining petroleum resources and the development of genuine alternatives require an unprecedented level of international cooperation and the marshalling of the world’s technological, material and human resources. This is not possible as long as capitalism divides the globe into competing nation states, each vying for advantage over the other.
The mad scramble to control the world’s remaining oil supplies has led to a violent struggle, in which the bloody US invasion and occupation of Iraq is but one episode. All of the major powers—from the US, to China, Europe, and Japan—are vying for control of the Middle East, the Caspian region, the Artic and Antarctica and even the sea-beds of the world’s oceans. The struggle for resources is once again threatening the world with the eruption of a new round of imperialist wars, which could threaten the very survival of humanity.
Sameer Dossani | June 28, 2008 on the Foreign Policy in Focus
In the final analysis, the food crisis is actually a convergence of two crises. The first is the crisis of speculation, characterized by a chronic “bubble economy.” Increased regulation and taxation of speculation of all kinds is the only long-term solution to this crisis.
The second is a crisis that has been a long time coming – the crisis of global agriculture which has been in many ways been a planned and calculated crisis. When agricultural policy is not made by citizens and their elected representatives but rather by international financial institutions and their market fundamentalist policies and by big agribusiness whose primary concern is their own bottom line, it is a recipe for disaster.