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Posts Tagged ‘riots’

Bolivia’s Morales blames fuels crops for food shortage

Posted by feww on April 22, 2008

Morales: Life first and cars second

Bolivian President Evo Morales criticized “some South American presidents” for supporting the use of biofuels, which he blamed for high food prices and global hunger.

Morales said he disagreed with “some South American presidents who were talking about biofuels but did not understand what they were talking about.”

“This is very serious,” he said. “Cars come first, not human beings. But, for us, how important is life and how important are cars? So I say life first and cars second.”

In his U.N. speech, Morales called on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to develop policies to curb the use of biofuels “in order to avoid hunger and misery among our people.”

Less than 48 hours earlier the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell declared that world will need every form of energy available – from coal to biofuels – to keep pace with a booming population. He added:

“Despite high prices [oil touched $117 a barrel on Friday] , demand is not dropping, there is only slower growth. Easy oil and easy gas cannot supply all that surge in demand …”

“So it is not a matter of choice, do we do coal, or oil, or nuclear? The world will need everything, including biofuels. You name it.”

“The essential point of biofuels is over time they will play a role,” “But there are high expectations what role they will play in the short term.”

“Biofuels are all about how you develop them without unintended consequences. It is not only the competition with food, it is also the competition for sweet water in the world …”

The oil minister for Qatar, a member of the OPEC severely criticized biofuels at the energy forum, where producers and consumers meet.

“Now the world is facing a shortage of food,” he said in his answer to a question on food shortages, but “I don’t think we should blame oil, we should blame biofuels.”

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Emerging Food Crisis

Posted by feww on April 10, 2008

Since February 2008, riots and protests concerning rising food prices or food shortages have been reported in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cameroon, Egypt, El Salvador, Haiti, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique, Philippines Senegal, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

According to AFP Report: “Analysts have said economic misery in crushingly-poor Myanmar was a force behind protests which drew up to 100,000 people into the streets of the military-ruled country last year.”

Poorer countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia and in which 60-70 percent of the income is spent on food are particularly hard hit by soaring food prices.

“In the Philippines, one of the world’s biggest importers of rice, the government deployed troops last week to deliver grain to poor areas of the capital Manila amid worries about shortages.”

Grain prizes have risen by 42 percent and dairy products 80 percent since2007. The head of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said: “There is a risk that this unrest will spread in countries where 50 to 60 percent of income goes to food . . .”

Elsewhere, soaring food prices are leading to political instability and humanitarian crisis:

In China, the price of pork, their staple diet, has risen by more than 60 percent in the last 12 months.

In Vietnam, consumer prices rose by about 17 percent (YoY) in the first quarter of 2008. Up to 20,000 workers at a Vietnamese shoe factory opted for a a two-day strike last week “because of the increase in prices which has hit people hard recently,” according to union official Nguyen Thi Dung.

In Singapore, one of Asia’s wealthiest countries, ten people were arrested by police last month for holding a rally, without a permit, to protest rising living costs.

Rising food (and fuel) prices have triggered protests also in India, Malaysia and Pakistan causing seismic shifts in political and social policies.

The World Bank anticipated last week “heightening political tensions” throughout Asia should “rising inflation stalls poverty reduction measures.”

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Posted in Bolivia, Cameroon, Egypt, El Salvador, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, Uzbekistan, Yemen | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

 
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