Agribusiness booms, millions starve

Submitted by Matthew on 20 July, 2011 - 10:04

In Europe, the capitalist crisis means discomfort, stress, and humiliation for millions. In many parts of the world, it means outright starvation.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, “countries in the [Horn of Africa] are confronted with the failure of the short rains in late 2010 and negative trends that threaten the long rainy season in 2011...

“The number of those requiring emergency assistance has grown from 6.3 million in early 2011 to 10 million today — a 40 percent increase — in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda (Karamoja region). The majority of the newly affected people are reported to be in Kenya (1.2 million). In addition, the number of Somali refugees in camps in Kenya and Ethiopia has reached the unprecedented figure of about 517,000 people”.

People in that region face triple blows:

• Drought;

• The collapse of government in Somalia;

• World food prices have risen by two-thirds since early 2009.

The exact factors in rising world food prices are difficult to work out. Speculation, bio-fuel production, droughts, dearer oil raising fertiliser prices, increased urbanisation, are all implicated, or may be.

But for sure the world still produces enough food for everyone. The poor could buy enough food if they weren’t so poor; and they wouldn’t be so poor if the rich weren’t so rich.

And for sure the big agribusiness corporations, like US-based Cargill, are making record profits.

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