Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Global Food Crisis: Any Way Out For Nigeria?

By Ola Kazeem in Lagos
Wednesday, 04 June 2008

Nigeria, in spite of its oil reserves, is still fundamentally an agricultural country, at least in terms of the population working on the land. 71% of the Nigerian workforce is engaged in agriculture. Over 90% of Nigeria's agricultural output comes from peasant farmers who dwell in remote rural areas where 60% of the 150million total population lives. Agricultural landholdings are generally small and scattered, with the average number of farm plots per household ranging between 2 and 28 plots increasing from the South to the North. Nigeria cultivates over 25 million hectares of land for various food crops.

And yet, despite all these obviously abundant human and natural resources, Nigeria is still unable to feed her citizens. Nigeria produces only 500,000 tonnes of rice while annual consumption is 2.5 million tones. Nigeria is the world's second-largest rice importer after Singapore. Before now, Nigeria spent over $350million on rice importation alone. Now there is a global food crisis, but can the Nigeria ruling class turns things round overnight?

Why the Crisis?



The present world food crisis is primarily a grains shortages crisis. Annual world grains output has been declining for decades. It was estimated at 1,900million tons or less in 1995, this was at a time when over 3,000million tons of grains produced annually is required to meet global dietary needs. Today, world grains carryover stocks are at the same absolute level they were over 25 years ago. Stocks dropped from 460-490 million metric tons in the late 1980s down to less than 250million tons in 1995 - the level of stock in 1969. Scores of countries have gone from national self-sufficiency in basic grains, to import dependency or donated cereals aid. But now, the grains are not even there for grab.

Various reasons have been advanced as the cause, mainly from bourgeois apologists. Nature is first to be blamed: the Myanmar cyclone that flooded 5000 square kilometres has been blamed, floods in Indonesia and Sri Lanka are also mentioned. But how do you explain a colossal reduction in the stock that brought the 1995 stocks to the 1969 level while the population keeps on growing? A devalued dollar has also been blamed, as have high prices of petrol and so on. But what was the value of the dollar in 1995? How much was the petrol during this period in question?

No way can e accept these excuses; these reasons are one-sided and could not completely explain what went wrong. Necessity sometimes expresses itself as an accident. What is happening is a necessary product of capitalism in its present senile stage. Capitalism reigns in anarchy. Capitalism means domination of the non-living over the living, of profit over labour and, most accurately, capitalism means horror without end.

The present food crisis is linked directly to one fact provided by the CIA World Fact Book of January 2008, which reveals that of the US$46,660,000 million world GDP, agriculture is just 4% of this sum, industry 32%, while the service sector carries a whopping 64% of total GDP.

Capitalists want to make money out of money, without taking any risk in production. More capital is going to speculative businesses and stocks, under the guise of services. Capitalism does not exist for the benefit of human beings, but for profit. It is taking money away from productive investment, into gambling and weapons of mass destruction. It brings a life of luxury to a diminishing few and misery for an ever-expanding majority.

What we are presently experiencing is the inevitable outcome of the way capitalism works. All the aforementioned reasons advanced by bourgeois apologists are just the last straw that broke the camel's back. As if this were not enough inhumanity against humankind, the food that is not enough to meet our dietary needs is now being used for biofuels. Capitalists prefer fuelling a car to feeding a hungry man. A forecast issued by the International Food Policy Research Institute points out that a termination of the swindle of subsidies for biofuels production would result in an immediate 20% price reductions for corn, 14% for manioc, and 11% for wheat, but does this appeal to the defenders of a system that survives on human misery?

How Sincere is the Ruling Class's Attempt to Resolve the Crisis?



The working class in Nigeria, as in any other country, should not be carried away with the crocodile tears being shed by the bourgeoisie. They are pretending as if they only discovered today that over two billion human beings have always been living without food, decent shelter and good clothes; that in Nigeria for instance, 71% of the population lives on less than US$1 a day, that over one million children die annually in Africa of malaria; 26,500-30,000 children die each day due to poverty. Tens of millions die simply because they are poor. They have no access to good health care, education, electricity and other modern amenities.

What has alarmed the ruling class is the spate of protests and bloody riots of the people that has been sweeping round the world. It is estimated that food related protest are going on in over 40 countries. A government has been swept away in Haiti as a result. Egypt is in turmoil. Senegal experienced some of the bloodiest rioting in the recent past, all for food.

The asses have been pushed to the limit of their tolerance. Trotsky said many years ago, that the bourgeoisie will only concede a little to the masses when it is threatened with losing everything. What has alarmed the ruling classes is not the deplorable, unfortunate condition of the people, but the fear of losing control, of losing their property, fear of the people moving farther than the limits set by the labour leadership, fear of revolution.

If the people had remained docile, the ruling class would have simply treated this crisis the way they have treated all previous injustices against humanity, blaming the people and nature for all the anguish, as they are fond of doing.

Can the Nigerian Government Resolve the Crisis?



The Nigerian government is in a far better position today to carry this deceit to a far extent. The Nigerian government is presently raking in big money, thanks to the petro-dollars. As a result of this, the government can afford to completely remove all duties and taxes on imported grains as they announced two weeks ago. The Nigerian government has concluded deals with the Thai, Indian and American governments to import 500,000 tons of rice to flood the Nigerian market. The first batch of the consignments will enter Nigeria by the middle of June. The plan is to sell this rice at half its price to the people. The government has also promised to pump 100billion Naira into agriculture as a long-term solution to the food shortage. With petrol at over $130 per barrel, the Nigerian government can promise heaven and earth.

But there are series of challenges confronting the Nigerian ruling class, which makes all these emergency measures laughable. First among these is the issue of corruption. Corruption is a life wire of any regime in a backward country like Nigeria; only a government of the working class could end corruption. Most of this rice will not reach the ordinary people that need it.

A very innocent and ordinary question can be asked; why can't the government carry out a massive cultivation of the land to grow grain, especially rice, corn and wheat, that can be grow in Nigeria? The problem is that this step is impermissible under capitalism. The policy as dictated by the IMF/World Bank is that the government has no business doing business. Imperialism has imposed on Nigeria via the various Structural Adjustment Programmes a policy that states that subsidies on food, fertilisers, fuel, transport etc. are bad for the economy. The same programmes dictate that the economy of a country like Nigeria must be completely open to the world market. The end result has been the destruction of industry and agriculture.

Capitalist government exists for the few and thrives only when there is mass poverty and misery. The massive importation of food - provided as "relief" in the short-term ‑ will further undermine the already sick local production. Cheap - subsidised - agricultural produce from the richer countries will further undermine the small Nigerian farmers.

What they have not been capable of doing for decades would require a miracle for them to urgently do now. Although, at present they have money to order 500,000 tons of rice, to manage the removal of taxes and duties on grain importation, in short, to carry out a form of deception, this money will not always be there. Rather than this money solving the food problem, under capitalism it will exacerbate it, it will further undermine the local production, it will further fuel corruption and further destabilize an already unstable political atmosphere.

Capitalist Nigeria Absolutely Incapable of Solving This Fundamental Problem



The present food crisis is a necessary outcome of the workings of capitalism; a capitalist Nigeria is absolutely incapable of solving this fundamental problem. Just as it is incapable of uniting Nigerians, just as it is incapable of developing industry, as it is incapable of building a modern infrastructure, of ending corruption and most deplorably of ending the misery of Nigerians, to expect it to resolve this one is to expect the Lion to eat grass.

In half a century of formal independence the Nigerian ruling class has proven incapable of developing a modern infrastructure. It has not even been capable of maintaining its own oil refineries, which have all collapsed and now Nigeria, an oil-exporting country, is forced to import refined fuel! Oil, which should have provided a real material improvement for the masses, has actually contributed to the deindustrialisation of Nigeria's already meagre industrial base and at the same time the collapse of its agriculture. All that the ruling elite has been capable of has been leeching off the wealth produced by the workers of the country. Nothing is going to change now. If anything it is getting worse.

Only a socialist Nigeria, under the democratic control of the working class, can permanently end the various crises we are saddled with. Combining the immense material resources and the millions of Nigerian workers and peasants, the country could lift itself out of poverty very soon, and provide enough food for its population.
RENEGADE EYE

28 comments:

Crooked said...

I wonder how concentrated landownership is in Nigeria. Often times in developing countries the majority of farmable land is owned by a minority of the population. Additionally much of the time large segments of this privately owned land remain idle because farming the land is not terribly profitable for the large land owners. I am not sure to what extent this has contributed to the food crisis, but the need for land reform seems to be absent from much of the articles I’ve read. I actually planned on researching this further and writing a short article for my blog.

politiques USA said...

I don't know that much about Nigeria. Don't mix please Nigeriens with Nigerians, these are 2 different countries.

I'm afraid that this global food crisis is going to be one of the worse humanitarian catastrophe of this century. A global food crisis can last up to 2 decades, and too many countries are striken by this crisis. It is time that these countries start scrapping the bilatteral agreements on food with the US. Mexico was pretty much harmless from the food crisis, when the US decided that it could supply them with food for lesser costs. That was true until the oil crisis came in, and we started using ethanol to compensate the oil shortage. That's where the problem lies down, at least one of the problems, because there are other problems with bad crops from all over the world (Australia and bad weather conditions and earthquakes and floods).
Also when a country runs out of food, it usually tries to tap into its granaries to feed its population, and it means that next year the catastrophe will be even worse than the preceding year.
I think I told you before what needs to be done in this world. If everything goes to hell, the worldwide population is going to start decreasing, and if we want to feed ourselves, we have to go back to the plow again. In the 3rd world country there are people that feed their family for less than 1 dollar a day. In the US, it's getting there too, I've seen people eating for less than 25 cents a day, so that they could afford to pay their rent and their bill (I'm OUTRAGED). But even the majority of Americans spend around $3.600 a year on food for a couple. It means that most of Americans spend less than 10 dollars a day for a couple to buy food, which is nothing, unless you want to feed yourself with hamburgers.

Anyone saw the relation between oil cris and food crisis? This one was inevitable. We also have to stop thinking in terms of making money when it comes to food production, but for that you need to change the capitalist thought between the offer and the demand. We deregulated the oil market and we got a crisis that is vamparizing our food supply now. Good job Dubbya.

celticfire said...

Wait, you mean all of us who kids at that time that were out there screaming in Seattle (pre-war on terror) about the horrors of the WTO/IMF were right? Damn.

Never got a thank you either.

Actually, in the book (i've mentioned it before) A People's History of the Vietnam War by Jonathan Neale-he has an insightful analysis of the War on Terror as a package deal of the neo-liberal movement, citing that as development continues to be lopsided, so will imperialist response to food/resource shortages become more barbaric.

I think old Rosa was right: socialism or barbarism.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Regime change in Nigeria then?

Who's with me?

Ortho said...

Why does the author of this post insist on using the word "crisis." Crisis of course has a pathological connotation. It's offensive that the author uses it to describe the conditions of non-Western people who have been maligned by years of colonialist discourse as diseased.

Foxessa said...

How does one clean a national house of such thoroughly pervasive corruption in every sector of the government and economy?

We need to answer that question successfully in the U.S.A before we start advising others 'how to.'

In some ways, judging by what I've seen in Cuba, it seems to me there is in many of the traditional cultures of Africa paradigms that grafted naturally, easily and successfully upon a bit more nationally structured socialism. I'm speaking more on family and community and neighborhood levels, though, not the internal bureaus and so on at the top of the state.

Love, C.

Renegade Eye said...

Crooked: The article says Nigeria is not allowed to subsidize crops, due to IMF regulations. In addition cheaper crops from outside are dumped there.

politiques USA: I think the comment about profit drive and food production is insightful. The same can be said for healthcare. Are you still in Texas?

Celticfire: I have contradictory feelings about the WTO/IMF demonstrations. I'm against the rightist nationalism that was present there, giving aid to people like Pat Buchanon. Neoliberal and neoconservative seem objectively the same.

Ortho: The writer is a Nigerian comrade.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill: As part of the regime change, executing 419 scammers, would do the country good.

Foxessa: Primitive communal societies, are different than international socialism. Linking the word national with socialism is the root of Stalinism, and responsible for the bureaucracy. Socialism just like capitalism, can't exist on a one country status.

roman said...

Capitalists want to make money out of money, without taking any risk in production.

Yes that is what they want but that does not mean that is what they get. All business ventures are accompanied with risk and every investment is far from guaranteed. Crop failures due to inclement weather, blight or mismanagement occur not only on one hectare plots but on large tracts owned by agricorporations.
The five year plans under the soviet system of collectivism had as many or more failures than privately owned agricultural concerns. Risk is present in both.

JZ said...

"Global Warming" may indeed kill off the world. Not that it's even remotely legitimate science, but it will result in crops being dedicated to ethanol instead of food. Call it "Global Starving", the honoprable solution to "Global Warming". Those who drop dead from hunger will be deified as martyrs.

CB said...

Two things are at play. jz is right about the phony anthropogenic climate change nonsense, after all, Mars was warming at the same rate as Earth, but over the last 10 years both have actually been cooling - an inconvenient truth. Gore has had a wonderful marketing campaign going for his $700 million investment fund that invests in 4 areas: 1) bio fuels & bio mass 2) renewables 3) green technologies and 4) carbon trading. I can't believe people don't see right through this mess!

The second thing is that subsidies for corn and sugar are causing the price of corn to go higher along with everything down line from corn, like beef (which makes other proteins like chicken more expensive) tortillas, etc., more expensive. It also pegs the price of corn and sugar to the price of oil because at least here in the states, the subsidy goes to the oil companies but they buy it from Monsanto, ADM and other large corporate farms who get to sell it at artificially inflated prices.

This also causes rational farmers to stop growing wheat, rice and soy in favor of the subsidized crop where they will earn more for their money. All of this nonsense harms poor countries disproportionately and the poorer within each country most because instead of eating our food, we're driving it.

In Africa in general and Nigeria specifically, they suffer from 2 problems. In a land with some of the most fertile soil in the world, they can't feed themselves because they've been taught not to learn because of the constant flow of "aid." James Shikwati and others have called for the world community to stop debilitating African countries with welfare because it destroys and delays their development, just like welfare destroys individual initiative. Second, as was mentioned up thread, property rights are not secure in Nigeria. If you don't have property rights, the absolute key to political and economic liberty, you have no incentive to grow, care for the land and produce because it can be taken from you.

The whole green thing is simply malthusian collectivists trying to control the population and the economy. Vaclav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic has an interesting take on this lunacy and the characters behind all of this nonsense. Been there, done that!

politiques USA said...

We are in the XXIst century and I still can't believe we haven't found a way out from energetic dependence. Basically now with ethanol we are eating our breakfast on the road, how nice. We won't solve anything as long as we'll jump from one technology field to another one.
Has anyone heard about hierarchical technologies? New technologies are created from old technologies. For example the discovery of the radio-activity allowed us to create the atomic bomb but also the X-rays. It's the same thing for this new crisis: the oil problem created another problem for the food crisis. It means that we won't solve the food crisis as long as we won't solve the oil problem first. Why? It is the oil price on the market that defines the production costs, before reaching a global price. For us it's nothing but I'm pretty sure when you ship a cargo-freight in the third-world, it must triple their bill due to oil prices, and it makes it more difficult for them to reach their quotas because they have to spend more money that they can't really afford, so there is less food for them. Also guys, keep in mind that in some countries, water is scarce, there are many countries that are unable to meet the demand on their national population, especially in the African countries. We'll have to dig canals to bring water. Chinese people who live in the Taklamakan desert did it. This desert is the toughest spot on earth with no life at all and it was an unavoidable point for the silk-road; its name means "you go in, you don't go out". Anyway, these people have been able to dig under the dunes of sand to bring water in very tough areas, way tougher than Ethiopia. It took them hundreds of years to get the job done but they have water now in their oasis, and they've done it because 25% of China is a desert, so it was that or starvation. So without global AID, countries are still able to accommodate themselves, but the West has the responsibility to help other countries.

Important: a huge problem in this world is the advance of the desert (desertification) that makes it harder to cultivate what you really need. In France when I was a kid we had sandstorms coming from the Sahara (beneath Morocco) and the sands (after or before global warming?) will recover one day the entire planet (Asia, Africa, Europe, USA). The rest of Asia is not really saved from this tragedy, although they do have the monsoon that feeds almost 2 billion people (on rice) from the Himalayas that go through India, SE Asia and China. Another thing that nobody seems to care: I read earlier that since the middle-class of India and China are evolving, global food prices are going to be on the rise. Humanly we shouldn't really yell at high global food prices, because it means there is also less starvation in some geographic zones since the demand is stronger. We just have to meet global demands first.

Now think about a world without oil. That would be horrible. If you remove the oil, then there is no more food. How long do you think it is going to take us to solve the oil problem? I would say never. We've never done it in the 70s, we missed what Europe did, and I don't see anything coming to the horizon right now; the oil investors are rubbing their hands with their new profit margins. That is typical from a market’s economy. It's the survival of the fittest (and the most dishonest one). If we don't solve this problem, one day there will be a revolution in this country, and there'll be a revolution because people will be starving. You still can feed yourself without oil, but you have to run oxes with a plow to feed yourself. Other countries did it, and they still do it. It would be harder to find different types of food, but when you are on survival mood, I don't think we'd really care. We’ve been so used to get our foods from the supermarket, that we don’t really see the bottom of the problem. It would be nice that the human being can regain a better approach on nature, and start boycotting all these corporations. If I could be autarcic 100% I'd do it in a heartbeat, and I'm sure people would appreciate what they have.


Here is the link I found on the Taklamakan desert:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taklamakan_Desert
Now they don't say the name means "you go in, you don't go out", and I don't know why they forgot about that.
Another desert in China, the Gobi desert:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gobi_Desert

Renegade Eye said...

Everybody is a climate expert? I'm not a denier or an ideologue.

Roman: The making money from money, is related to the US and developed countries, that have increased profits, by having a more subordinate ununionized working class and not investing in new equiptment. At the same the economy is based on borrowing and gimmicks like selling debt. China is investing in new equiptment.

JZ: Global warming is not bogus science. It is not even a debated issue. The only debate is which global warming scenario is best. If it's bogus science, why is it overwhelmingly accepted? Besides being a JZ or MZ, you are a scientist too? No martyrs only victims.

CB: You raised several points, some quite good particularly about subsidies.

I don't understand Malthusianism related to global warming. I have a middle view myself. I believe global warming is a real problem, but not one as severe as some say, or as dismissive as others. The Gore remark is interesting.

Aid will have to be sent to governments during this food crisis, to keep them from being overthrown.

Politiques: Good essay.

I'm interested in the sand storm part.

Joseph said...

Excellent Post! I just linked your blog to mine.

http://theviewfromsteeltown.squarespace.com/blog/

Cheers!

Renegade Eye said...

Joseph: I returned the favor and linked back.

The Pseudo-Independent said...

"...can the Nigeria ruling class turn# things round overnight?..."

will comment at the appropriate time although I do not think the current leaders know what the fundamental probems are.

I'll comment further in a bit.

Stay tuned!

Michael J. Bayly said...

Hi Renegade Eye,

I was wondering if you'd care to pay a visit to this post on my site and share your perspective.

I don't feel as fully equipped as perhaps I could (or should) be to take on a comment like the second one left in response to this particular post.

Thanks for considering this request.

Peace,

Michael


P.S. Your e-mail doesn't seem to be working.

Crooked said...

the May Issue of Monthly Review had a very good article http://www.monthlyreview.org/080501magdoff.php

Renegade Eye said...

Michael J. Bayly: At your blog is an interesting discussion. I hope others from this blog will look and comment at your post.

My email seems ok.

In addition I hope you visit more often here.

Crooked: I will read it tomorrow.

Pseudo: If the Nigerian leaders don't know what the problems are, how can they be leaders?

politiques USA said...

Here is an analyzis:

The central problem underlying the current food crisis is not a physical lack of food, but rather its unaffordability for masses of people due to rapidly increasing prices. Among the immediate factors driving the rapid worsening of the food crisis, a major role is played by the explosion of speculative investment in basic commodities such as oil and grain,
(...)
Time magazine quoted United Nations World Food Program official Josette Sheeran as saying, “We are seeing food on the shelves but people being unable to afford it.”
(...)
A major avenue for such speculative capital is commodity futures. This essentially involves financial bets that prices of basic goods such as oil, grains and metals will continue to rise. Since these futures are used as benchmarks for actual trading in the physical commodities, their heady rise has helped sharply pull up market prices for the commodities themselves.
(...)
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/jun2008/food-j09.shtml

PS: if countries could switch to Euro, a part of the problem would be solved.

CB said...

Wrong answer, go to the back of the class!

The markets are functioning perfectly. The manipulation of the markets by the government is causing the problem. "Speculative investment" or speculators are also the target of scapegoats in another commodity price escalation; oil.

In both cases, the government has either subsidized oil producers, ironically for the production of corn ethanol or the government has capped production through prohibitions on drilling and refining. In the first case, the ethanol subsidy drives up the price of corn and pegs it to oil. Wheat farmers stop growing wheat, soy farmers stop growing soy in favor of the subsidized corn. These subsidies not only produce artificially higher demand for corn but make everything down line from corn more expensive. Not only that, it creates artificial scarcity in wheat and soy, making everything produced down line from those products more expensive. This is poor government policy not the markets.

In the case of oil itself, there is no shortage but if Ahmadinejad says something stupid, the fear is that supply will be cut off. If Putin or now Medvedev says something stupid or continues to centralize power, the fear is that they could disrupt supply. If Israel says that they may have to take action against Iranian nuclear ambitions, the fear is that supply will be cut off. Chavez acts like the mouse that roared so that the price of oil will go higher.

This fear is more tangible because of the climate in the U.S. when even the flippin GOP nominee says that we won't drill for oil beneath our feet, where else is the world going to go for supply in the event of a middle east, russian or venezuelan disruption? Again, this is stupid government policy, not the markets.

CB said...

Ren,

Al Franken? For real? I guess you guys are determined to send Coleman back to D.C.

CB said...

ren,

Here's what I think about supposed anthropogenic climate change:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=tUaX3Mw8qvg
http://youtube.com/watch?v=Y2zHS7TPoxA&feature=related
http://youtube.com/watch?v=z1RCulLlPWc&feature=related

Even if you believe this nonsense and you're a committed liberal:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=LqZWbLLbAOM

For the malthusian connection, look up U.N. Agenda 21

politiques USA said...

What about the relationship between the low dollar and the oil prices? It's often debated but there is no economic analysis whatsoever to study how intertwened they are, it seems like people don't want to link this evidence.
Oil prices will affect anything in our life and in people's life: food, electricity, ...etc
Today congress may pass a resolution to rise the price of electricity of up to 150%. Electricity is made of oil and coal (while it runs 600% cheaper on a nuclear plant). We took everything for granted, burying our hands in the sand like an ostrich, and then we'll get a bad kick in the ass. We are farther down in the economic recession, we just don't know how deep the rock bottom is.

PS: I was in Seattle in 1999. I flew from France just to be in Capitol Hill for these days.

Renegade Eye said...

CB: Not only Al Franken, in addition Jesse The Body might be back. I expect Coleman to lose by Obama's momentum. As of now Franken is his own worst enemy.

To some extent you are arguing a hypothetical. The idea of price being a purely market function, is far from the reality. I take the same data, and come out for worldwide central planning.

Politiques: With the world economy so intertwined, I doubt if the US went over to the Euro, it would help.

politiques USA said...

The energy spikes in oil prices between dollar and euro are not the same. The margin difference in dollars should be way higher than the one in euro.
The pain is higher for consumers when you trade on a low dollar rather than on a rising euro. If I have time I will make some research today, because it's confusing, and we are debating about international control whose dollar does not fullfill efficiently its global role compared to other currencies. The market are intertwened because of the role of the dollar; but the problem comes from the T-bonds and the wars that keep lowering the dollar. We've been in the wrong economic system since the 60s.

Also I don't think that outlawing gas prices would in fact low down the oil price, it would trigger the price up for sure.

politiques USA said...

India slams US for blaming it for global food crisis

Thursday, 12 June , 2008, 00:20

New Delhi: India slammed the US for blaming it for the global food crisis, and said the major reason behind the sky-high food prices was the shift from "food to fuel," on Wednesday.

Both the World Bank and the US said on Tuesday the rise of food prices in south Asia was the result of export control measures of India. Earlier, the US said the increased food consumption by Indian middle classes had shot up global food prices.

Also in the news: Gujjar-govt talks deadlocked over release of arrested women | Column: Youngistan needs You!

“I cannot believe that better food consumption by India and China is responsible for global food crisis,” Finance Secretary D Subba Rao said. “Yes, it's a fact that consumption pattern has improved and that is what it should be. It's not the reason behind global food crisis,” Rao added.

India and China were never food importers and the increased food consumption in these two countries would not affect the global market, he explained at a function at the residence of British high commissioner to India here.

He said the “shift from food to fuel” was a big issue behind the crisis, and squarely blamed the US' move to churn biofuel from food grains.

Taking a dig at the US, Rao said when “so much food insecurity is there”, some countries are going for biofuel and thereby “shifting focus from food to fuel”.

“To contain the crisis, you need to keep the borders open. You cannot put heavy tax on certain biofuels to produce it domestically,” he argued.

He said inflation is happening primarily because of three reasons - food price hike, increase in the price of basic materials like steel and rise in energy price.

“But let me tell you that food price in India is much less than the global food prices,” he added.
http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14692918

politiques USA said...

The weak U.S. currency is considered a key culprit in the surge in oil prices because some traders invest in oil as a hedge against inflation and a slumping dollar. It also hurts major exporters like Japan by eroding their repatriated earnings.

The dollar has strengthened in recent days after Paulson warned earlier this week that he isn't ruling out intervening in currency markets to stabilize the currency. U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke also helped lift the dollar by suggesting the Fed is prepared to raise interest rates to fight inflation.

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080614/japan_g8.html

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