Saturday, April 12, 2008

World water wars aside, Bio Fuels and growing world Hunger: We're damned if we do Damned if we don't! What's that tell you?

Growing world water wars, growing food wars, and a growing world war! World Bank President Robert Zoellick says the escalating price of food is stunting opportunities and creating hardship for people in poor countries. The international lending organization says it aims to double agricultural business investment this year and called on rich countries to help offset the rising cost of food. Speaking to reporters ahead of the World Bank/IMF meetings this weekend, Zoellick said World Bank members must step up efforts to stave off what he called a "growing emergency" in developing countries. VOA's Mil Arcega reports. The world Bank says Sub-Saharan countries will be among the hardest hit by the skyrocketing cost of food.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, World Bank President Robert Zoellick says the situation in the world's poorest countries makes the financial problems in developed nations seem trivial in comparison. "While many are worrying about filling their gas tanks, many others around the world are struggling to fill their stomachs - and it's getting more and more difficult everyday,” he said. World Bank studies show the price of wheat has more than doubled in the past year, while the price of rice has risen at least 75 percent. Zoellick says the upcoming spring meetings by members of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank must do more than recognize the crisis. He called on rich countries to act quickly to expand safety net programs for poor nations and provide at least $500 million to meet their emergency food needs.

"This is not just about meals foregone today or about increasing social unrest. This is about lost learning potential for children and adults in the future - stunted intellectual and physical growth. Even more, we estimate that the effects of this food crisis on poverty reduction worldwide is on the order of seven lost years," he added. Food riots have already erupted in developing nations where people spend as much as 60 percent of their income on food. The U.N. and World Bank blame the rising cost of food on a combination of factors including climate change, higher energy prices and the growing demand for biofuels. Despite efforts world hunger growing

Demand for ethanol and other biofuels is a "significant contributor" to soaring food prices around the world, World Bank President Robert Zoellick says. Droughts, financial market speculators and increased demand for food have also helped create "a perfect storm" that has boosted those prices, he says. The soaring costs of food and fuel led to riots in Haiti and Egypt and a general strike in Burkina Faso this week. Skyrocketing food prices are topping the agenda this weekend of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual spring meetings in Washington. Zoellick held up a bag of rice during a news conference Thursday to illustrate the severity of the food crisis.

"In Bangladesh a two-kilogram bag of rice ... now consumes about half of the daily income of a poor family," he said. "The price of a loaf of bread ... has more than doubled. Poor people in Yemen are now spending more than a quarter of their incomes just on bread." And Zoellick says prices for basic staples will remain high for an extended period of time.

* "I think you have a perfect storm of things coming together," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep in an interview. "You have high energy prices. You have the increase in demand from some of the developing countries. ... As the Indian commerce minister said to me, going from one meal a day to two meals a day for 300 million people increases demand a lot. Bio fuels boosting food prices

Perfect storm no kidding? 40 countries face food shortages worldwide Darfur crisis most pressing humanitarian problem 9 October 2006, Rome -- Forty countries are facing food emergencies and require external assistance, with the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan still the most pressing humanitarian problem, according to an FAO report released today. In Darfur, “the already precarious food supply situation may worsen if deteriorating security disrupts the main harvest due to start in the coming few weeks,” FAO’s Crop Prospects and Food Situation report warns. Close monitoring of global food situation needed. Prospects for the 2006 world cereal harvest have deteriorated further since July, according to the report. Exceptionally hot and dry weather is adversely affecting the wheat crops in Australia, Argentina and Brazil, while drier-than-normal weather in parts of South Asia is also raising some concern for the second 2006 paddy crop.

FAO’s forecast for world cereal production in 2006 now stands at about 2 013 million tonnes, almost 8 million tonnes down since the previous report in July and 1.6 percent less than the 2005 level. “The main concern is the declining stocks and whether supplies will be adequate to meet demand without world prices surging to even higher levels,” the report says.
Africa: While the situation in Darfur remains the most critical, elsewhere in Eastern Africa, despite improved prospects for the 2006/07 crops in some areas, floods, erratic rains and conflict-related displacement have negatively affected the food situation. Most of the region’s pastoral areas have yet to recover from the successive poor rains that severely affected livestock and resulted in acute food shortages and migration of thousands of people in search of water and food.

In Somalia, a severe food crisis is expected to persist throughout the country for the rest of 2006, affecting at least 1.8 million people. In spite of a satisfactory food supply situation, serious localized food insecurity due mostly to access problems is reported in several West African countries, including Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. Emergency food assistance continues to be needed in Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone due to large numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees.

Asia: Reduced food aid and crop damage due to floods in July has increased the severity of food insecurity in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In Timor-Leste, hundreds of thousands of people affected by civil unrest still need food assistance. Over 45 000 people affected by drought and floods in Nepal have received relief assistance. Unprecedented floods caused by several weeks of torrential rain have left millions of people in India and Pakistan homeless and in need of food assistance.

In China, the worst drought in 50 years has affected more than 3 million hectares of crops in Sichuan and Chongqing.In Iraq, conflict and insecurity continues to displace hundreds of thousands people. Drought and unusually high temperatures have compromised food production in Afghanistan and Armenia. In addition, increased military operations and conflict over the past year in Afghanistan have further exacerbated food insecurity in the country.

Central America: Food aid is still being provided to some vulnerable rural families affected by hurricanes during the second half of 2005 in El Salvador and Guatemala. It is also being distributed to populations without access to food in Haiti, Nicaragua and Honduras. 40 countries and growing face food shortages worldwide

* The Future! Growing Food wars, growing water wars, Growing environmental crisis, growing future wars, I'm not a pessimist, I am a prepared realist!


an average patriot said...

Survival and Shortages (and Solutions?)

betmo said...

i just posted a blurb about this very subject- great minds think alike ;) there are real challenges out there for growing food for the world- but making money off of food and viewing it as a commodity is a big reason for the prices going up. these fat cat profit makers figured out that they can make millions while millions starve. apparently, it doesn't matter because the folks starving- not western and not white. i can't even begin to fully think about it- it will break my heart again.

an average patriot said...

betmo very good. I just joined sirens so I'm waiting! Did you see the link I sent you on survival and growing and everything. You will live it. Go down a page and there is a bunch of great links. You will like it. Keep smiling!

an average patriot said...

I'm sorry! I posted the link on my first comment.