Washington: Improving diets in China and India are among the reasons for the skyrocketing price of food grains worldwide, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice has said, adding fuel to the raging debate over perceived food shortage that has led some US analysts to recommend stockpiling supplies. In remarks at a Peace Corps conference on Monday, Rice acknowledged that the world food situation was cause for serious concern to the extent, she said, that Josette Sheeran, her former aide who now works as the Director of the World Food Program, had described it as a “silent tsunami”. Rice attributed four broad reasons for the rising prices, including distribution issues, escalating oil prices and the “unintended consequence of the alternate fuels effort”. But it was her critique about consumption pattern in China and India and the consequent cap on their exports, and her promise to “have a look at” it, that raised eyebrows. “We obviously have to look at places where production seems to be declining and declining to the point that people are actually putting export caps on the amount of food. Now, some of that is not so much declining production as apparently improvement in the diets of people, for instance, in China and India, and then pressures to keep food inside the country. So, that’s another element that we have to look at,” Rice said. Although many experts point to the US and European diversion of food crops to biofuel activity as the principle trigger for shortages, there has also been muted criticism in some circles about India and China curtailing the export of their domestic food production (mainly rice) to meet any possible panic at home, leading to tightening of supplies in the international market. But while there have been stories of food riots in countries such as Haiti and Egypt, it is the US where there has been a great deal of agitation. Twice in the past week, media outlets have suggestively raised the spectre—or need—for Americans to stockpile food in the face of rising prices and possible shortages. In a country where supermarket shelves are often cleared at the first intimation of a few inches of snow, it is yet another call to hoarding. Mounting grocery bills are already the talk at the kitchen table. The price of staples such as milk, bread, eggs, chicken have registered double-digit rise in the past few weeks, adding to the moping at the gas pump.
Rice On Rice Condoleezza Rice said that the currency exchange rate and the simple “inability” of getting food to the people was the major cause of global food crisis Rice said that the increasing consumptions in countries such as India and China were forcing these countries to keep food inside the country The third reason, according to Rice, which was adding to the food crisis was the spiralling fuel prices that have hit transportation and distribution costs According to Rice, the fourth factor which is attributing to the current global food crisis is “biofuels”, which she said was not really a problem in itself but was a part of the problem.
Reproduced from Times of India Hyderabad Edition 30.04.2008.
What happened to the global warming effects on the produce,
looks like we Asians are the main culprits in causing the world shortage for
food resources. We all know who the real culprits are!