"The rapidly escalating global food crisis has reached emergency proportions and threatens to wipe out seven years of progress in the fight against global poverty."
-- Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary general
Riots in Haiti, Egypt, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, Yemen, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Italy. All over rising food prices. Want the stats from the WB and the UN?
- Wheat prices: risen 130% since last March
- Soy prices: risen 87% since last March
- Overall food prices: risen 83% in the last 3 years
- Food represents 60-80% of consumer spending in developing countries
- In just 3 years the price of staples (wheat, corn, rice) has almost doubled
Why this dramatic rise? Reports are citing increased population, biofuel demand, bad weather, high oil and transport costs that companies pass along to consumers, and newly "rich" countries' demand for meat and dairy products.To reduce dependence on fossil fuels and to keep corn prices artificially high for farmers, the US has pushed the use of biofuels. Using corn for fuel, however, is fueling food shortages - especially in the developing world.
With Earth Day approaching, it is quite a propos to think of how we can better take care of the environment. However, how can we reconcile these somewhat opposing needs: to provide food for all, especially the poor, and to take care of the environment?