Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Food needed

Rich nations must drop 'beggar thy neighour policies', says UN chief | Environment |

An interesting report here on the UN food summit:
Trade barriers should be lowered and export bans removed to stop the spread of hunger, the UN said at its summit on the global food crisis today, as its secretary-general Ban Ki-moon declared world food production must rise by 50% by 2030.
The decision that there is a crisis seems to have come on awfully quickly. Still:

Food prices have risen 83% in the last three years, according to the World Bank. It is also estimated that soaring food prices could push as many as 100 million more people into hunger.

The director-general of the UN's Food And Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, said wealthy nations had spent billions of dollars on farm subsidies and wasteful food consumption.

But of course it can't be a UN conference without some stupidity amongst delegates. The most spectacular example here is, of course, Robert Mugabe:

Speaking this afternoon at the summit, Mugabe defended his policy of seizing land from white farmers by saying he was undoing a legacy left by Zimbabwe's former colonial "masters".

He blamed international sanctions for many of Zimbabwe's problems and said his own policies have been "warmly welcomed" by his people.

"Over the past decade, Zimbabwe has democratised the land ownership patterns in the country, with over 300,000 previously landless families now proud landowners," he said.

Well, proud landowners who don't know how to farm it. Still, having a really, really big backyard for the kids to play in while they lose weight must make them feel good.

But some sense was spoken:

The foreign office minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Mark Malloch Brown, said Mugabe's attendance was "like inviting Pol Pot to a human rights conference".

He said: "Zimbabwe is one of the few countries whose food crisis is not due to climate change or global prices, but due to the disastrous policies pursued by Mugabe."

Just one idiot speech is never enough for the UN. I didn't realise before, but Ahmadinejad turned up too. Guess whose fault he thinks it is:
...the appearance of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, prompted distraction after the Iranian leader attacked Israel.

"European peoples have been most hurt by the Zionists, and today the economic and political costs of this false regime are on the shoulders of Europe,'' he said.

I suppose the Hidden Imam will work it all out, when he arrives any day now.

UPDATE: here's a couple of articles at Online Opinion talking about the international problem.

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