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FYI: "The World Food Crisis" - New York Times Editorial - 10th April 2008

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  • macropneuma
    Great posts here going on - Raju, Karoubas, Ayla, Cuneyt, and everyone; Thanks! For Your Information (FYI) here below is copied a seriously critical recent
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 13, 2008
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      Great posts here going on - Raju, Karoubas, Ayla, Cuneyt, and everyone;
      Thanks!

      For Your Information (FYI) here below is copied a seriously critical
      recent
      *Editorial* of the New York Times, Fukuoka-sensei has a realistic
      solution - neither the NYT editor in suggesting-by-quoting "the
      president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick", or Zoellick himself, in
      saying "Mr. Zoellick suggested rich countries could help
      finance a “green revolution” to increase farm productivity and raise
      crop yields in Africa.", have any sort of realistic solution there, at
      all! - read Fukuoka-sensei on the previous so called "Green
      Revolution" for the point there. What's is good is that they
      critically articulate *the problem* (at least that in part), even if
      they don't have any realistic answers. You would all know the huge
      influence of the NYT in the 'Western World' media & english-speaking
      media. So i'm pleased to read the wake up call by them!
      --and further below that:
      -A non-USA perspective from Australia, from one of our premier science
      communicators Julian Cribb, talking with our public broadcaster's,
      ABC's, social affairs program ("Life Matters") presenter, today Monday
      the 14th April, 2008 -- where i heard about this article - this
      morning on the radio. atm i'm at home on the farm so not much internet
      contact or replies atm, although i can read this group on my mobile
      phone on the farm now :) . Cheers.

      ===================
      The New York Times
      (
      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/opinion/10thu1.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print
      )

      April 10, 2008
      Editorial
      The World Food Crisis

      Most Americans take food for granted. Even the poorest fifth of
      households in the United States spend only 16 percent of their budget
      on food. In many other countries, it is less of a given. Nigerian
      families spend 73 percent of their budgets to eat, Vietnamese 65
      percent, Indonesians half. They are in trouble.

      Last year, the food import bill of developing countries rose by 25
      percent as food prices rose to levels not seen in a generation. Corn
      doubled in price over the last two years. Wheat reached its highest
      price in 28 years. The increases are already sparking unrest from
      Haiti to Egypt. Many countries have imposed price controls on food or
      taxes on agricultural exports.

      Last week, the president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, warned
      that 33 nations are at risk of social unrest because of the rising
      prices of food. “For countries where food comprises from half to
      three-quarters of consumption, there is no margin for survival,” he said.

      Prices are unlikely to drop soon. The United Nations Food and
      Agriculture Organization says world cereal stocks this year will be
      the lowest since 1982.

      The United States and other developed countries need to step up to the
      plate. The rise in food prices is partly because of uncontrollable
      forces â€" including rising energy costs and the growth of the middle
      class in China and India. This has increased demand for animal
      protein, which requires large amounts of grain.

      But the rich world is exacerbating these effects by supporting the
      production of biofuels. The International Monetary Fund estimates that
      corn ethanol production in the United States accounted for at least
      half the rise in world corn demand in each of the past three years.
      This elevated corn prices. Feed prices rose. So did prices of other
      crops â€" mainly soybeans â€" as farmers switched their fields to corn,
      according to the Agriculture Department.

      Washington provides a subsidy of 51 cents a gallon to ethanol blenders
      and slaps a tariff of 54 cents a gallon on imports. In the European
      Union, most countries exempt biofuels from some gas taxes and slap an
      average tariff equal to more than 70 cents a gallon of imported
      ethanol. There are several reasons to put an end to these
      interventions. At best, corn ethanol delivers only a small reduction
      in greenhouse gases compared with gasoline. And it could make things
      far worse if it leads to more farming in forests and grasslands.
      Rising food prices provide an urgent argument to nix ethanol’s supports.

      Over the long term, agricultural productivity must increase in the
      developing world. Mr. Zoellick suggested rich countries could help
      finance a “green revolution” to increase farm productivity and raise
      crop yields in Africa. But the rise in food prices calls for developed
      nations to provide more immediate assistance. Last month, the World
      Food Program said rising grain costs blew a hole of more than $500
      million in its budget for helping millions of victims of hunger around
      the world.

      Industrial nations are not generous, unfortunately. Overseas aid by
      rich countries fell 8.4 percent last year from 2006. Developed nations
      would have to increase their aid budgets by 35 percent over the next
      three years just to meet the commitments they made in 2005.

      They must not let this target slip. Continued growth of the middle
      class in China and India, the push for renewable fuels and anticipated
      damage to agricultural production caused by global warming mean that
      food prices are likely to stay high. Millions of people, mainly in
      developing countries, could need aid to avoid malnutrition. Rich
      countries’ energy policies helped create the problem. Now those
      countries should help solve it.


      Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

      ======================================================================
      From: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/lifematters/stories/2008/2214662.htm
      (from that web page you can listen to all the discussion of our
      Australian perspective on this serious issue, as playback audio of the
      radio which uses a streaming mp3 file, until this interesting segment
      of the program ends then turn it off, which saves you downloading the
      whole ca. 25MB audio podcast file; or you can download the whole audio
      as an mp3 file, of this radio program, from
      http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/current/audioonly/lms_20080414.mp3
      or as linked on the site above.
      Below is a very brief summary of the segment of the program)


      Life Matters
      -------------

      on ABC Radio National

      14 April 2008
      World Food Shortage: Scarier Than Climate Change?

      It could be that a food crisis, not climate change, is the biggest
      threat to our existence.

      Prices of grains have doubled and trebled in the past few months
      and riots over food prices have erupted in Egypt and Haiti.

      There are scientists and economists who have been trying to tell us
      this for a while, but the voices have grown significantly louder in
      recent months.

      Guests

      Julian Cribb
      Adjunct professor in science communications at the University of
      Technology, Sydney Principal of Julian Cribbs and Associates,
      specialists in science communications


      Further Information

      Science Alert
      Science news site run by Julian Cribb & Associates


      Presenter

      Richard Aedy


      Producer

      Amanda Armstrong
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