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May 1, 2008

When the World Gets Hungry…

There was, a week ago, a glimmer of hope in the world with regards to the food crisis. Not anymore. Prices of essential food items have gone drastically up with the past few days.

One thing is for sure that we have gone from an era of plenty to one of scarcity. Experts agree that food prices are not likely to return to the levels the world had grown accustomed to any time soon.

In Liberia last week, it was reported that people had stopped purchasing imported rice by the bag, and instead they bought it by the cup! This situation certainly brings up memories of the food riots that sunk Liberia’s into chaos in 1979.

In Kenya’s Rift Valley, “the bread basket of East Africa”, farmers are planting only a third of what they did last year. Now, if they could sell at higher prices, why wouldn’t they plant even more? Because they cannot afford fertilizer, which is also skyrocketing in price.We see the same in Mali, Laos and Ethiopia; a perfect prescription for disaster.

In Kathmandu, the government announced yesterday that it has decided to ban export of food items in a bid to tackle the soaring food prices. A senior official at the Ministry of Supplies said the decision to ban the exports was taken to protect his country of food crisis. “We are dependent on India for food items. India has stopped exporting to us now. On the other hand, we export wheat flour to Tibet, China and basmati rice to Bangladesh,” said Gyan Darshan Udhas.

And the thriller is set to be continued….

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