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Food prices

Who Is Responsible for the Surge in Food and Fuel Prices?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008 by: Lynn Berry
Tags: food prices, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) The impact of the green revolution into biofuels is impacting more than anyone could have guessed on the availability, and thus the cost, of food. From 2002 until February this year the cost of a basket of food rose by 140% according to a World Bank report (1).

The impact is being felt worldwide. We are now facing more pressures about how we work and live given
the rising cost of everything. If we do not work, we cannot buy food but to get to work (in some
places), we typically need fuel. If you can walk or ride your bike, you will be better off than people
who are given little option but to drive.

Those cities and towns that provide little, ineffective or no public transportation will have citizens under more pressure with rising costs of food and fuel than any others.

In a NaturalNews article last year, David Gutierrez noted a report from the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD) which said that biofuels may be worse for our environment that fossil fuels (2). However, the U.S., U.K. and the EU have continued to encourage the use of biofuels.

The U.K. this year ruled that gas (petrol and diesel) had to contain at least 2.5% biofuel, and the EU is looking at increasing that percentage to 10% within 12 years. In Australia the cheapest petrol, the one most in demand, contains biofuel.

The U.S. Government has claimed that biofuels have only put minimal pressure on food prices, around 3%, but this has been contradicted by the World Bank report which states that biofuels have increased prices by 75% around the world.

Another claim made by President Bush, that India and China were pushing up prices through higher demand, has also been disputed by the World Bank. The Bank says that wheat and maize production has declined significantly due to the production of biofuels. In the U.S., over a third of corn production is diverted to ethanol production, while in the EU over half of vegetable oils are used in ethanol production.

Increased prices both in food and fuel have sparked financial speculation which in turn have increased
prices. Also to benefit are the multinational food and fertilizer organisations. According to The
Independent
website, Monsanto profits have increased from $1.44 billion to $2.22 billion (3).

Organisations representing farmers and fisherman blame the World Bank, The World Trade Organization
(WTO), The International Monetary Fund as well as FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) on the crisis citing them as giving preference to multinational agriculture and food organisations.

AsiaNews quotes Jesuit Fr S. Arokiasamy (an economist and theologian), "today, the globalised market
economy is focused on the corporate sector which is based on profits and not on people's needs...
this is leading to the creation of more special economic zones and alienating the individual even more
from his own land and depriving him of dignity, Today the economy is hijacked by multinationals."(4)

The FAO rejects claims that there is a food shortage saying there is enough food to feed the world
population, and that there was an increase in the production of grain over the last year compared to the previous (5). Others claim that the response by the WTO, World Bank and G8 nations simply continues current policies doing nothing to alleviate speculation causing food prices to increase, or to improve agricultural practices and trade.

There are undoubtedly ethical considerations in the control of food and fuel if a group of people profit at the expense of another group. The issue also highlights the need for extremely careful planning and honesty in our quest to combat global warming. Will all those responsible come to the party?

References:

1. Biofuels send food costs soaring Sydney Morning Herald Weekend Edition July 5-6 2008 by Aditya
Chakrabortty Guardian News & Media

2. (www.naturalnews.com/022112.html)

3. (www.propeller.com)

4. (www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=12402)

5. (www.alainet.org/active/25084)

About the author

Lynn Berry is passionate about personal development, natural health care, justice and spirituality. She has a website at www.lynn-berry.com.


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