Aug 22 2012
In this post in Huffington Post's "Impact" blog, Eric Holt Gimenez, executive director of Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy, reflects on the global implications of a drought in the U.S., writing, "[I]f the 2008 and 2011 food price crises are any guide, the global effects of the U.S. drought are fairly predictable." He continues, "The failure of the U.S. corn harvests spells a disaster for the world's poor, but not because the poor eat our corn. ... The poor will suffer the third global food disaster in four years because the price of corn will push up the price of other food commodities, like wheat, soybeans and rice ..., push[ing] up food prices overall." He writes, "The global response to food crises is also well rehearsed," and makes a number of predictions as to how USAID, the United States Department of Agriculture, "seed and chemical monopolies," and "the mega-philanthropies" will respond to the crisis.
"[W]orld leaders will hold meetings of the G8 and the multilateral institutions to reiterate their call for the further liberalization of global agricultural markets and public-private partnerships to expand industrial agriculture," he writes, adding, "In other words, none of the immediate causes of hunger will be addressed." He continues, "There are also a number of things we don't know," such as "how many more than one billion of the planet's people will go hungry, for how long, or how many will die"; "how many food riots will lead to full scale rebellions, or how many governments will be toppled"; or "how much longer the world's poor and underserved communities -- in the Global North and the Global South, in rural and urban areas -- will put up with this." He concludes, "These communities need land, jobs, protection from speculators and the volatility of global markets. ... If given the chance, many of them could do this for themselves. They could rebuild our economies by rebuilding our local food systems, literally, from the ground up. .. They could end hunger and poverty" (8/20).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.