Global Food Crisis: “A Silent Tsunami”

“Sharply rising food prices” “have sparked riots around the world and threaten U.N.-backed feeding programs for 20 million children, the top U.N. food official said Tuesday.” The news story that reported this quoted the British Prime Minister as saying that “25,000 people a day are dying of conditions linked to hunger,””with one child dying every five seconds from hunger-related causes.” Food riots have recently occurred in Haiti, “Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Egypt, Indonesia and Senegal,” as well as Ethiopia, Mauritania, Madagascar, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Mexico.

The story doesn’t explore the role of ethanol subsidies in causing starvation, although it notes that “the diversion of some crops to produce biofuels” is contributing to rising food prices, and that “the increasing use of crops to produce biofuels has been criticized as contributing to food shortages.”

Finance ministers in the Third World are now calling for an end to ethanol subsidies. South Africa’s finance minister calls them “criminal.” India’s finance minister declared that “in a world where there is hunger and poverty, there is no policy justification for diverting food crops towards bio-fuels. Converting food into fuel is neither good policy for the poor nor for the environment.” Ethanol subsidies are terrible for the environment.