The world bank is pushing the fact food prices are high and at “dangerous levels” putting 44 million people into poverty since June. Its figures are based on its Food Price watch that shows a 15% increase within 4 months between October 2010 and January 2011.
Big question for me is why is it felt internationally? Surely more “poor” countries feed their richer neighbours and Western countries so doesn’t this mean more profit for the countries involved?
The World bank says that the inflation is felt disproportionately by the poor who spend half their income on food. At the same time I would say encouraging Free market causes these problems in the first place as well as the fact countries that shouldn’t be importing some goods that damage its own agricultural society are encouraged to by foreign nations as well as seeing its own farming industry get destroyed to the benefit of the West. Haiti with its U.S. rice for example that is half the price of local rice. Life is about sustainability and will become more so over time so meddling in local economics has badly damaged Haiti’s farming industry as well as much of what could be self sufficient became reliant on aid.
The current trend is being aggravated by the unrest in the Middle East although not its primary cause. In 2008 rapid price rises caused riots in several countries due to an estimated 125 million people being in extreme poverty. Currently the world is believed to be 3% below that figure but that the rate increased by 27% within a year.
The problem I have is what is defined by poverty? what is the difference between poverty and extreme poverty as organisations like to fluff things instead of giving facts. E.g. I often here of people being on less than one dollar a day which if you understand the Philippines in the rural areas which are poorer they often have cattle, grow crops, may not have electricity so no electric bill, water is often free so although below the poverty line they are close to self sufficient although not comfortable the dollar a day gives a picture of despair and extreme poverty yet most of the people I have met up in mountain locations seem to get by. They don’t have savings for medical or dental treatment but they still manage life day to day. Because surely they will fall into this figure of “extreme poverty” and so do many other millions of people who do survive and their life has been sustainable for decades if not longer already because their reliance on the outside world is minimal.
There is a confusion for me on why things get based on money because its not something relevant to many families around the world especially the poorer ones because they have learned to survive in many cases. Where things go wrong is when aid starts arriving and the wrong type of aid. Giving food programs instead of seeds, tools and education. Big corporate interference encourages things like fertilizers and pesticides yet introduction of permaculture for the poor is not only more viable due to its mixed crops it also provides higher yields with most of peoples daily needs doesn’t that make more sense?
When I look at mono cropping in many of these countries that are in poverty you find that most of the goods are for export not local market so surely the problem here is the countries are serving the needs of others not their own nations? Introducing rice into the diets of Africans for example changed global food habits and obviously not for the better. GM crops are probably the future of many of these nations and shouldn’t be hindered by Western environmental groups, being able to produce foods that remove the need for pesticides or like China with rice that can withstand flooding for 12 days due to the rice being able to “hold its breath” are becoming more important than people realise. At the same time all these problems are man made and one thing that needs pushing globally is to stop people breeding at this stupid rate as its killing everything. I look at Africa 9 kids in a family, Philippines, Israel and most of it is driven by religion if you have a solution to interplanetary manoeuvres and how to create an environment on another planet go ahead and take all your brainwashed people with you but until then numbers need to come down not up.