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Old 04-23-2008, 06:18 PM   #1
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The Beginning of World Hunger?

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Rising food costs threaten to unleash a "silent tsunami" of hunger around the world, the head of the United Nations World Food Programme said Tuesday at a summit in Britain to discuss the crisis.

The head of the agency's World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran, said spiralling food prices could push more than 100 million people worldwide into a level of poverty where they cannot afford to feed themselves.

"This is the new face of hunger — the millions of people who were not in the urgent hunger category six months ago but now are," said Sheeran.

The summit, hosted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, is aimed at figuring out a plan to address the food crisis to present to the European Union, the G8 and a special UN meeting over the next few months.

Among those attending the meeting are UN officials, policymakers and experts.

Protests and riots have broken out in several developing countries in response to the rising costs of staples such as corn, wheat and rice. The rising prices are due to a combination of poor harvests, rising energy prices, growing demand in India and China, and the increasing use of fields to produce corn for ethanol.

Sheeran said the crisis is "a silent tsunami that respects no borders."

"The world's misery index is rising … as soaring food and fuel prices roll through the lives of the most vulnerable," she said Friday.

$755 million needed

The WFP says the food crisis is the biggest challenge it has faced in its 45-year history and it is forcing the agency to look at cutting aid to some recipients.

A program to feed 450,000 children in Cambodian schools may have to be cut beginning in May unless new funding can be found, the WFP says.

Sheeran said that $12 billion in donations poured in following the devastating tsunami in 2004 that left nearly a quarter of a million people dead in Southeast Asia. "We need that same kind of action and generosity [again]," she said.

On the weekend, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the WFP needs an extra $755 million to cover the rising costs of existing emergency operations.

"Tackling hunger is a moral challenge to each of us and it is also a threat to the political and economic stability of nations," Brown said in an article on the government website.

"So I believe we need to see a fully co-ordinated response by the international community."

He signalled that Britain may be willing to rethink its stance on biofuel targets if it might reduce the impact on food prices.

"If our U.K. review shows that we need to change our approach, we will also push for change in EU [European Union] biofuels targets," he wrote.

Unrest over the food crisis has led to deaths in Cameroon and Haiti, cost Haitian Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis his job, and caused hungry textile workers to clash with police in Bangladesh.

Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said more protests in other developing nations appear likely. "We are going through a very serious crisis and we are going to see lots of food strikes and demonstrations," Annan told reporters in Geneva.
http://www.cbc.ca/story/world/nation...orld-food.html

So, what is the blame here? Overpopulation? International laws that don't allow poor countries to develop their economies so they could feed themselves? Environmentalism putting an emphasis on biofuel rather than using the crops to feed people?

Personally, I think its all three.
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:38 PM   #2
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Quite possibly all three.
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:44 PM   #3
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and there shall be famines


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And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

All these are the beginning of sorrows.
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:55 PM   #4
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http://www.reuters.com/article/marke...23679120080423
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:27 PM   #5
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Re: The Beginning of World Hunger?

I suppose the shortages grab the media's attention more when they occur in developed countries.

There are also (new) energy and water shortages in many countries.

Quote:
Originally posted by Pearl

Environmentalism putting an emphasis on biofuel rather than using the crops to feed people?
Ironically most biofuels are not energy efficient or environmentally friendly to produce. It's just a gift to the ag. lobby and states.
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Old 04-23-2008, 08:56 PM   #6
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A few cans of Spam, not a bad idea.


A country boy suggestion
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Old 04-23-2008, 09:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by the iron horse
A few cans of Spam, not a bad idea.

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Old 04-23-2008, 09:03 PM   #8
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He's just suggesting an alternative way of feeling full, without actually requiring food.
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Old 04-23-2008, 09:06 PM   #9
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But isn't Spam nothing but fat?
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Old 04-23-2008, 09:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Earnie Shavers
He's just suggesting an alternative way of feeling full, without actually requiring food.
That's what water is for.
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Old 04-23-2008, 09:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by the iron horse
A few cans of Spam, not a bad idea.


A country boy suggestion
No joke, I used to eat Spam when I was little, we didn't have alot of money...it was just me and my mom for awhile.

This is truly a sad and heartbreaking situation for so many that had a supply of food coming in and now today they have nothing.
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Old 04-23-2008, 10:11 PM   #12
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Some of the roots are in the 1980's when the families were losing their farms and corporations took bought these farms up in the Midwest. Now its spread to the third world countries and people are being pushed off the land so they are moving to cities. There is a good story in this month's Vanity Fair about an evil company called Monsanto that are suing small farmers over their genetic engineered seeds and farmers that refuse to inject their cows with hormones. It's the consequences of voodoo free market economics.
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Old 04-23-2008, 10:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by watergate
Some of the roots are in the 1980's when the families were losing their farms and corporations took bought these farms up in the Midwest. Now its spread to the third world countries and people are being pushed off the land so they are moving to cities. There is a good story in this month's Vanity Fair about an evil company called Monsanto that are suing small farmers over their genetic engineered seeds and farmers that refuse to inject their cows with hormones. It's the consequences of voodoo free market economics.
Another great article in this issue is Ribert F. Kennedys manifesto.

He's brilliant. Any of the current Presidential candidates would benefit from having him in their administration.
I hope, whoever it is will take advantage of his brillant mind.

Opinion
The Next President’s First Task [A Manifesto]
by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. May 2008

It's online:

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/f...anifesto200805

edited to add: I don't want to hear anything else about the development of bio-fuels from corn. This practice, I feel, is starving even MORE people to death. There are too many other products that can be converted for bio-fuel.
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Old 04-23-2008, 11:29 PM   #14
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Rising oil prices is the main reason for the current crisis. Oil prices rise --> cost of planting, fertilizing, harvesting, processing and transporting food goes up --> farmers in industrialized countries switch to planting crops for biofuel rather than food/cooking oils --> livestock producers switch to wheat for animal feed as low supply drives up corn and soy prices --> wheat prices rise --> major rice-producing countries in the developing world panic and restrict or ban rice exports out of fear they won't have enough to feed their own == crisis situation. There are aggravating factors--several consecutive years of drought in Australia; recent surging demands for milk and meat in increasingly prosperous India and China (cattle consume far more calories in grain than they're capable of providing when milked or slaughtered); farming in some regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, has never caught up technologically with the rest of the world; and some economists believe that too many newly industrializing Asian countries have allowed the percentage of their workforces engaged in agriculture to fall too far too fast. But rising oil prices is the major reason.
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Old 04-24-2008, 12:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
major rice-producing countries in the developing world panic and restrict or ban rice exports out of fear they won't have enough to feed their own == crisis situation.
Several major wheat-exporting nations have also curtailed exports. Oil exporters will follow this pattern as their production declines. Among the countries that will be best off economically and socially in the future will be those that have surplus food and energy - e.g. Kazakhstan (annual gdp growth ~10% since 2000).
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