People desperate over global food crisis

April 19, 2008 1:19:37 AM PDT
The food crisis is the biggest story in the world right now. It's causing riots and threatening to topple governments. The UN World Food Program says it needs half-a-billion dollars to fill the food gap.

India has been unable to get wheat. So to make sure people in that country have enough to eat, the Indian government has stopped exporting rice; Vietnam and Indonesia followed.

"There isn't any rice available at any price really for countries that want it," said Stanford economics professor Dr. Rosamond Naylor, Ph.D.

Dr. Ros Naylor is an economics professor at Stanford. She says rice prices have skyrocketed, if you can find it.

Half of the rice The U.S produces is sold abroad, but it's not enough to feed everyone.

Egypt imports most of its food staples. The high food prices there have angered many people.

"Shame on you. Shame on you. Shame on you," protestors chant.

This is not Egypt, but San Francisco. Protesters gathered on Friday in front of the console's home after some demonstrators in the city of Mahalla were arrested last week for demanding better living and working conditions.

Berkeley journalism graduate student James Buck was one of those detained.

"Most people there I think 80 percent or the population live on like a dollar a day. So when food prices have gone up so rapidly they have no food left, they have no disposable income, no padding," said Berkeley grad student James Buck.

The food crisis is perhaps worst in Haiti. The high prices there set off riots.

A few factors have caused this crisis. Droughts and other weather conditions are one.

Another is emerging economies like India and China are demanding more food.

India is still largely vegetarian, but it's over a billion people and they're starting to eat poultry and some meats. And so China, eats quite a bit of meat now and as they move into meat, then it requires more grain," said Dr. Naylor.

Dr. Naylor says bio fuels as an alternative fuel has also created a lot of extra demand in the market.

The U.N. World Food Program needs $500 million dollars to fill the food gap.

In the long term, Dr. Naylor says we have to teach developing countries better farming practices.

Food facts:
www.imf.org

To donate:
www.worldvision.org
www.care.org


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