Sunday, 9 March 2008

2008: The year of global food crisis

Millions more of the world's most vulnerable people are facing starvation. More than 73 million people in 78 countries that depend on food handouts from the United Nations World Food Programme.
The threat of malnutrition is the world's forgotten problem'', says the World Bank. The increasing cost of grains is also pushing up the price of meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products. High prices have already prompted a string of food protests around the world, with tortilla riots in Mexico, disputes over food rationing in West Bengal and protests over grain prices in Senegal, Mauritania and other parts of Africa. In Yemen, children have marched to highlight their hunger, while in London last week hundreds of pig farmers protested outside Downing Street. In India last year, more than 25,000 farmers took their own lives, driven to despair by grain shortages and farming debts. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted that, over the next 100 years, a one-metre rise in sea levels would flood almost a third of the world's crop-growing land. Another key driver is the soaring cost of oil. Increased food prices and their threat - not only to people but also to political stability.

Why are we growing food to feed cars instead of people?

Biofuels, have been sold as the solution to global warming. Making fuels from growing crops is the way to cut climate pollution while continuing to drive, we are told. Is this correct? But now experts are warning that this could all be a huge mistake. Converting large amounts of land to crops for biofuels is reducing food production just when the world needs to increase it. There are plans by more than 20 countries to boost production of biofuels over the next decade. The European Union is aiming to make biofuels 10% of all transport fuels by 2020. Read the rest here. Read the comments too Lizzy.

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