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June 6, 2008

What Can Be Done About The Food Crisis?

The U.N. summit on the global food crisis ended with delegates from 181 countries vowing to do something about the food crisis. This global food crisis has been big news in the past few months. As gas prices increase, taking the price of everything that is exported and imported up, affording food has become an issue for many people around the world. The United Nations held a summit in Rome to discuss measures that could be taken to help alleviate the crisis.

The delegates spent three days coming up with different strategies. Some of their solutions include cutting down on trade barriers and increasing agricultural production. A declaration to bring down high food cost was also made. Assistance for small farm holders was also made. Help for farmers living in poor countries that can not afford to buy seeds and other farming needs will get some type of help.

The U.N Secretary –General Ban Ki-moon said that import taxes and export restrictions should be cut down on to help move food through borders. This should help feed the millions of people that are starving or undernourished in the world. Malnutrition has always been a problem for the world , even before the so called food crisis. Hopefully these measures will help to cut down on these issues.

For those the question if there is a food crisis at all, the answer is, it all depends on where you live. If you are living in one of the countries that seems to have an ample food supply the global food shortage is something that you might not be able to feel or see. However, I know that for my entire life there have been people starving somewhere in the world. While there may not have been an official global food shortage, it was absolutely there.

There was of course some delegates that were not happy with the outcome of the summit. Argentina wanted the declaration to recognize that subsidies given to some farmers in the U.S., European Union and other western food growers contributed to the rise in food prices. Nicaragua’s delegates were also not happy, saying that the summit did not really address the real problems that caused the food crisis.

Bio-fuel was also discussed at the summit. Of course, any mention of any type of fuel right now when gas prices are very high is bound to spark anger. Bio-fuels are made form crops, prompting some to say that we should stop making them all together, for now and use the crops for food. However, as I said before, there have always been starving masses in the world. Just because the world is ready to recognize that fact now, does not make it anything new. So the production of bio-fuels should not be blamed for the food shortage.

The success or failure of the food summit will come to be known in the next few months. Will the solutions decrease starvation and malnutrition or was that gathering of delegates just a waste of time? Only time can tell.

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