Protests raise fears of food crisis

According to a news report from edition.cnn.com, “Food prices are soaring sending political shockwaves around the world but the reasons behind the looming crisis are numerous and complicated. For the last 30 years the price of basic foodstuffs has remained relatively constant. For most of that period wheat, corn and soya actually fell in real terms.”

“Now, that period could be coming to an end, and the finger of blame is being pointed at a number of sources, including increased demand from growing populations and the transfer of land use from food to biofuel production,” said the story. “Poor weather in some countries is piling on the pressure. Desertification is accelerating in China and sub-Saharan Africa, while more frequent flooding and changing patterns of rainfall are already beginning to have a significant impact on agricultural production.”

“Climate change is also responsible for the increased demand from developed nations for biofuels,” according to the article. “In the U.S., ethanol production is on course to account for about 30 percent of the national corn crop by 2010, dramatically curtailing the amount of land available for food crops and pushing up the price of corn flour on international commodity markets. Starting April 15 in the UK, at least two and a half percent of all transport fuels sold in the country must come from renewable sources. Clare Oxborrow, of Friends of the Earth, said: “It’s unacceptable for developing countries to be growing fuel for us to be using in the West instead of growing food to feed their people.”

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