Friday, April 11, 2008

Let Them Eat Dirt

When farm products are used to make fuel instead of food the price of food goes up.
This is not rocket science. It's supply and demand at its most basic.
Is anyone connecting the dots?
The price of food in poor countries is skyrocketing around the world and the so-called "developed" world doesn't have a clue.
Some development.

For most Americans, the rising prices at the supermarket are definitely an annoyance, but hardly a threat to life and health. It's a different story in countries like Haiti, where food inflation has led to real hunger and, last week, to riots.

News reports say the poorest Haitians are trying to get by on cookies made with dirt, vegetable oil and salt. Food riots also have roiled Egypt and led to a general strike in Burkina Faso in West Africa. The high cost of corn, wheat, soybeans and other basics of the world's diet could soon start bringing down governments.

Investor's Business Daily...more at the link.

It was lunchtime in one of Haiti’s worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud.

With food prices rising, Haiti’s poorest can’t afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies.

Charlene, 16 with a one-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country’s central plateau.

The mud has long been prized by pregnant women and children here as an antacid and source of calcium. But in places like Cite Soleil, the oceanside slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby, five siblings and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal.

“When my mother does not cook anything, I have to eat them three times a day,” Charlene said. Her baby, named Woodson, lay still across her lap, looking slightly thinner than the slim 6 pounds 3 ounces he weighed at birth.

Though she likes their buttery, salty taste, Charlene said the cookies also give her stomach pains. “When I nurse, the baby sometimes seems colicky too,” she said.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is increasingly concerned about food prices, which are up as much as 40 percent on some Caribbean islands. Floods and crop damage from the 2007 hurricane season forced the agency to declare states of emergency in Haiti and several other countries.

Health Sentinel

Here's another one from The Independent (UK):

The other global crisis: rush to biofuels is driving up price of food

There have been riots in Niger, Senegal, Cameroon and Burkina Faso and protests in Mauritania, Ivory Coast, Egypt and Morocco. Mexico has had "tortilla riots" and, in Yemen, children have marched to draw attention to their hunger.

The global price of wheat has risen by 130 per cent in the past year. Rice has rocketed by 74 per cent in the same period. It went up by more than 10 per cent in a single day last Friday – to an all-time high as African and Asian importers competed for the diminishing supply on international markets in an attempt to head off the mounting social unrest. The International Rice Research Institute warned yesterday that prices will keep going up.

The buffers stocks of staple foods that governments once held are being steadily exhausted.


Anonymous said...

As far as "globalisation" is concern, It FAILED.

The only solution is to shut our borders and BUY LOCAL.

Avoid imports at all cost. Which most of the cost is affected by the price of oil.

Hoots said...

This comment probably represents the majority of Americans. It is foolish to dismiss isolationist thinking but I don't have the words to change the mindset.

Globalization is neither failed nor successful. It is like gravity or radio waves. It simply IS.

The question is: What is meant by the word "we"? If isolationism and national borders are the bright line, that "we" will include all the criminals we have in the world's largest prison population, all those crazy people from the "other party" (whichever one that is) who have failed the patriotism test, and a vast number of unemployed people because the rest of the world will stop buying our goods and services.

Sorry, I don't accept isolationism as the remedy.