Tag Archives: agriculture

Surprising Success at the G20

Cross-posted from here

The conclusion of the G20 seems, at first blush, to provide a great deal of positive news for developing countries. The official Communique begins with the recognition that

prosperity is indivisible; that growth, to be sustained, has to be shared; and that our global plan for recovery must have at its heart the needs and jobs of hard-working families, not just in developed countries but in emerging markets and the poorest countries of the world too; and must reflect the interests, not just of today’s population, but of future generations too. Continue reading

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Rich countries launch great land grab to safeguard food supply

Small farmers at risk from industrial-scale deals

Julian Borger, diplomatic editor, The Guardian, Saturday November 22 2008

Rich governments and corporations are triggering alarm for the poor as they buy up the rights to millions of hectares of agricultural land in developing countries in an effort to secure their own long-term food supplies. The head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, has warned that the controversial rise in land deals could create a form of “neo-colonialism”, with poor states producing food for the rich at the expense of their own hungry people. Rising food prices have already set off a second “scramble for Africa”. This week, the South Korean firm Daewoo Logistics announced plans to buy a 99-year lease on a million hectares in Madagascar. Its aim is to grow 5m tonnes of corn a year by 2023, and produce palm oil from a further lease of 120,000 hectares (296,000 acres), relying on a largely South African workforce. Production would be mainly earmarked for South Korea, which wants to lessen dependence on imports. Continue reading

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FAO: More Free Trade, More Hunger

by Esther Vivas

Today humanity produces three times what was produced in the 1960s, while the population has only doubled.  There is no production crisis in agriculture, but the impossibility of accessing food by large populations who cannot pay current prices. The solution cannot be more free trade.

The high level summit of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations held in Rome on Food Security ended on June 5th.  The conclusions of the gathering do not indicate a change in the policy trends which have been in force these last years and which have led to the current situation.  The declarations of good intentions made by various governments and the promises of millions of euros to end hunger in the world are not capable of ending the structural causes that have generated this crisis.  On the contrary, the proposals made by the general secretary of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, to increase food production by 50% and to eliminate the export limits imposed by some of the countries affected, only reinforce the root causes of this crisis rather than addressing and guaranteeing the food security of the majority of the people in the global South. Continue reading

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PAKISTAN: Food out of reach

Source: Dawn

“Pakistan, just like the rest of the world, is facing the most severe food price inflation in its history. The January food prices soared to above 18 percent — the highest ever monthly increase — from over 14 percent in October. Higher food price inflation meant that the poor, vulnerable and low-income groups, who make up almost two-thirds of the population, had to either cut their non-food expense to make room for spiking food budgets or consumed lesser calories than required.

The situation demands that the economic managers re-think their strategy to fight food inflation. In the short run, they should take measures to prevent sudden jumps in prices due to artificial or real shortages, subsidize, as in the case of wheat, imported food like raw materials for edible oils, and abolish or scale down taxes on such essential items. In the long run, it must remove supply side constraints to check artificial shortages and support agriculture to boost food output. At the same time, the poor to low-income people should be shielded from the harsh effects of rising food prices now, by expanding the network of utility stores and making the ration card scheme that has been launched recently effective.”

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