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Diminishing Oil Causes Tough Choices For A Hungry World

April 13, 2008

Ten million people die every year of hunger and hunger-related diseases. Only eight percent
are the victims of high-profile earthquakes, floods, droughts and wars. The rest are often forgotten. Who are they?
They probably won’t know that in total there are 820 million hungry people in developing countries who don’t make the headlines — more than the combined populations of the United States, Canada and the European Union.

Finance Ministers Emphasize Food Crisis Over Credit Crisis

The world’s economic ministers declared on Sunday that shortages and skyrocketing prices for food posed a potentially greater threat to economic and political stability than the turmoil in capital markets.

IMF head warns that rising food prices could destabilize governments

The head of the International Monetary Fund is warning that spikes in food costs around the world could lead to starvation and the crumbling of governments.

“We are facing a huge problem,” Dominique Strauss-Kahn told reporters at the end of weekend meetings of world finance ministers and central bank governors, referring to rapidly rising food prices that have caused hunger and deadly violence in several countries. The IMF is often the lender of last resort for countries in trouble.

Food Costs A Big problem
Sydney, Apr 14, 2008 (ABN Newswire) – A grim warning from the International Monetary Fund about the dangers of food price inflation has been amplified by figures showing two of the major economies in
Asia, Japan and India, are battling the highest cost pressures for a decade or more.And we will be reminded later this week that China, the most important economy in the world at the moment, faces a still enormous cost pressure when its inflation figures for March are released, along with trade and sales figures for the economy as a whole.

Soaring food costs risk ‘starvation and unrest’

The world’s poorest countries face starvation and civil unrest if global food prices keep rising, the head of the International Monetary Fund has said. Growing middle class and bio-fuels blamed

Dominique Strauss-Kahn said in Washington that “hundreds of thousands of people will be starving”. “Children will be suffering from malnutrition, with consequences for all their lives,” he said.

He predicted that increasing food prices would push up the cost of imports for poor countries, leading to trade imbalances that might also affect developed nations. “It is not only a humanitarian question,” added Mr Strauss-Kahn.

Global food prices have risen sharply in recent months, driven by increased demand, poor weather and an increase in the area of land used to grow crops for bio-fuels.

Some experts, including Prof John Beddington, the British Government’s chief scientific adviser, and Mr Zoellick, have identified the growth of bio-fuels as a major cause of higher food prices.

Several major agricultural nations, such as the United States, have used subsidised crops such as soya bean, sugar cane and corn for ethanol production, reducing the amount of crops available for food and pushing up prices.

“It is very hard to imagine how we can see the world growing enough crops to produce renewable energy and at the same time meet the enormous demand for food,” Prof Beddington said last week.

There seems to be a huge conflict of interest here. It used to be oil for food. Now, its oil substitute OR food. Super Powers are focusing on a dying concept. Cheap energy the old fashioned way is no longer viable. Using food resources as fuel must be very temporary … the consequences are already being felt in the stomachs of poor nations. The Global Power shift is already happening. Populations already suffering will lead the way with creative alternatives or fall into violence. War because of hunger has historical roots. Is the world ready to repeat old mistakes? History is full of fallen empires who became complacent, allowed greed and corrupt leaders to make decisions for them. Due Diligence is the lesson.

Cross Posted on BlueBloggin

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