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Showing posts with the label food crisis

facts to digest

Bono now considers himself a factivist, boasting of how statistics confirms his approach to combatting poverty and hunger. So be it.

Diarrhoea still kills more children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.

Over 900 million, particularly women and young people, still suffer from chronic hunger. They go hungry not because of insufficient food production, but because they suffer from insufficient social protection. Michel Forst on behalf the group of 72 independent experts charged by the UN Human Rights Council  explained.

Sub-Saharan Africa, the World Bank said is home to more than 50 percent of the world's uncultivated agriculture land, with as much as 450 million hectares that is not forested, protected or densely populated. The 2008-2009 global food price crisis prompted a scramble for land in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and widespread fears of land grabbing. Madagascar's president was toppled in 2009 after he negotiated a deal with a South Korean company to l…

There is enough food

Almost one billion children will be trapped in poverty by hunger and malnutrition by 2025 unless action is taken, a new campaign has warned.

 Kathy Galloway, a spokeswoman for the campaign, said: "In a world where there is enough food for everyone, the fact that not everyone has enough to eat is nothing short of a scandal.

Actor John Michie, is supporting the campaign. He said: "We need to solve the underlying issues which create global hunger once and for all. People are denied access to land that could produce food. Parents work tirelessly, but still can't afford to feed their children. It's unfair, it's unjust and the truth is it's totally preventable. If we get enough Scots behind this campaign we can make world leaders listen."

Did the politicians listen in 2005 when hundreds of thousands of charities churches and celebrities marched in Edinburgh to "make poverty history"? Did they listen when tens of thousands besieged Bush, Blair a…

There is enough food to feed the world

Some attendees at a conference in London’s Chatham House to debate how to feed the planet’s growing population without degrading the earth’s resources argued that current levels of food production - if better managed - could accommodate everyone. They acknowledge that many people around the world are already going hungry, but contend this is not an issue of food shortage. Instead, they point out that vast quantities of edible produce are used for animal feed or biofuel production, or are allowed to spoil in storage or otherwise go to waste. 

The President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo Nwanze, explained “There is enough food in the world to feed every man, woman and child. Yet one-third of the food that is produced goes to waste. Fifty-seven per cent of food produced is not used for consumption. There is enough food to feed every mouth. The issue is access to food.”

The issue is indeed access to food - free access.

Oxfam warn about land grab

The global rush for international companies to grab lands for private sector investments in most Southeast Asian countries has put their poorest people at high risks of hunger in its latest report, Oxfam, warned. 

In developing countries in Asia, some 945 million are estimated to be living in absolute poverty.

The irony couldn’t be sharper and more painful in Asia where poor people who grow food for a living comprise the poorest segments of the economy and are scarcely able to eat.  In many countries, 80% of the population are farmers, as are 80% of the chronically hungry.

Norly Grace Mercado, Oxfam’s East Asia regional spokesperson said that “Global land grabs and, in particular, the upsurge of areas devoted to bio-fuel production have sent food prices in a tizzy, making it harder for poor people to buy affordable food,”

227 million hectares of land, including coastal land, in developing countries have been sold or leased since 2001, mostly to international investors.

Nobel Prize…

food for thought

New data from the United Nations reveals that there has been progress in reducing the number of hungry people worldwide. But an estimate that nearly 870 million people, one in eight, suffered from chronic undernourishment over the last two years. The vast majority of these people, 852 million, live in developing countries, which means that 15 percent of the developing world suffers from hunger, while 16 million people are undernourished in developed countries.

The FAO estimates that childhood malnutrition causes the deaths of more than 2.5 million children every year.

The situation is particularly bad in Africa, where the number of hungry has grown in the last twenty years from 175 to 239 million.

Food is transported all across the world. Even though according to researchers we currently produce food for 11 billion people there exists food shortages and millions starve.  Yet 1.3bn are obese, condemned to artificially cheap, calorie-rich, nutrient-poor processed food. Today's hung…

Hungry and Homeless in Scotland

According to the Office for National Statistics, food prices have risen by almost 5% in 12 months, but incomes have not kept pace. Anne Houston, chief executive of the charity Children 1st, warns that the number of people relying on handouts will rise as the economic situation worsens. She said: "One in five children in Scotland lives in poverty, which is unacceptable. As the cost of living rises, there is a real risk that more families could find themselves living in poverty."

The Trussell Trust, which runs the UK's only network of food banks, is helping to feed 6000 people in Scotland, and 129,000 people across the UK as a whole. Last year the Trussell Trust fed 2400 people in Dundee, 3362 in the Highlands and 375 people at its centre in Glasgow, which opened in December.

John Dickie, from the Children's Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said: "This is an indictment of government policy and shouldn't be seen as an alternative to the kind of national action …

feeding the world

Lord Rees, the astronomer royal and controversial winner of last week’s equally controversial Templeton Prize, has a much more benign and optimistic vision for 2050.

“A population of nine billion can be supported and fed on the Earth,” he said.“They can’t all live like modern-day Americans, but they can be supported. By applying the best techniques, better transport and refrigeration, it shouldn’t be too difficult to feed nine billion. So one shouldn’t be too alarmist. If there are problems, it will be about mismanagement. Like poverty, it’s more about lack of will than ability to sort it out.”

Malnutrition in the UK ?

“We think we are heading towards malnutrition happening here in the UK.” - Save the Children’s Colette Marshall told the BBC. "Benefits simply haven’t been enough and with rising food costs it means that families cannot afford to give children proper decent food. "

Children are being deprived of dietary staples and instead are being raised on cheap packaged food high in fat, salt and sugar. The Grocer magazine shows food prices rising by almost a fifth over the past year, with basic essentials such as rice and milk among the worst hit.

the shopping price hike

High food costs have added £15 to a weekly supermarket shop for a family of four in the UK, new research suggests.
Comparison website MySupermarket says a basket of 24 staple items including tea bags, milk and eggs costs 15% more than it did 12 months ago. The findings are based on its price comparisons of certain everyday items at Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda.
The increases mean that families spending an average of £100 a week on food will be spending £780 a year more at a time when customers are under increasing pressure from higher mortgage, petrol and energy costs.
Johnny Stern, managing director of MySupermarket said: "The conclusion is that supermarkets are passing on a sizeable amount of the increased costs."
The price of wheat, rice and maize have nearly doubled in the past year . Analysts have warned that the higher prices are threatening to drive an extra 100 million people worldwide into poverty.
White loaf at Sainsbury's and Tesco: 65p - up 20%
Butter: 94p -…

Scotland and the food shortages

Britain is only 70% self-sufficient in cereal grains, down from 90% in the 1980s. Scotland is even worse, at only 40%. Most of that goes into the whisky industry and to animal feed. Scotland is thus almost totally dependent on others for this most basic of commodities for human consumption, which raises the question of whether Scotland could, if need be, feed itself.

The answer is yes, but only after significant change in land use and a rather drastic adjustment of the national diet.

Professor Peter Gregory, CEO of the Scottish Crop Research Institute says:"Technically, this is not a crisis for Scotland. There is enough arable land to provide for every person in Scotland. Our cereal yields are around twice the global average."

It would be possible to start making bread for five million people living in Scotland if we switched rape fields for wheat fields.

hunger: it’s a market thing

From Ian Bell of the Sunday Herald

Lots of food, lots of hunger: it’s a market thing.

Last week the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development was published...Its main findings were simple enough, however. There is enough food for everyone. It is cheaper and, broadly, more nutritious than it has been in decades, but 800 million go hungry...

...there are no food shortages. Instead, according to one of those complicated theories they teach at Oxford and the like, there are money shortages. Or rather - and this is apparently so complicated it never gets discussed - some people are very short of money and some are anything but...

...The relationships between land, food security, politics and bread at £1.13 a loaf are not abstract. The laws of economics should not be mistaken for acts of God...

As Bell writes , the law of economics is not abstract but neither is it complicated . Simply put , in capitalism , if you cannot pay , you cannot have , no matter yo…