He started it! Did not!

www.agweb.com, May 16, 2008

Anyone else see the world food crisis diminishing to a sand box fight? The latest handful of sand was launched from India, where apparently they feel the world blames them for food shortages because of their growing prosperity.

I don’t know that anyone is blaming anybody for anything. Rather, the prosperity there should be celebrated, while the world tries to find a way to produce more food to feed a more prosperous world.

A Wednesday afternoon article on the New York Times Web site quoted Pradeep Mehta, secretary general of the center for international trade, economics and the environment for the India-based think tank CUTS International. He threw the proverbial sand in the eyes of Americans, including our own President, who keep trying to explain the reason commodity prices are increasing is due to improved diets and more demand for food around the world. He doesn’t like it that we keep saying biofuels are only part of the reason, but a greater reason is the prosperity and subsequent better diets enjoyed by a growing middle class in countries like India. He says that’s wrong.

Seemingly, he wiped the sand from his hands, put his hands on his hips, looked at the teacher and said “they started it!”; Mehta says we need to look no further than our own mirrors for the problem to the world’s food shortage.

His claim is if the average U.S. citizen will lose a few pounds by simply eating less, we could divert enough food to feed sub-Saharan Africa.

(Pretend here my face is turning red, my hands are on my hips, and I’m about to cry from confusion.) Yeah, well I admit I could lose a few pounds. But…but they eat too, I’ve always eaten well, and well, they are eating better.

Bruce Scherr, CEO of Informa Economics, estimates1.5 billion people around the world have entered a middle class lifestyle in the last decade. That number is likely to continue increasing as more high-paying jobs originate in developing countries.

Who’s blaming them for anything? Shouldn’t this be celebrated, albeit there are some hardships we have to work through as a world community?

The rhetoric about the world food crisis is becoming something it never should–a political game of who started it. Maybe the world needs to start looking at the root causes and what needs to happen to fix it.

We are in a situation where worldwide production is on the increase, but because prosperity in countries like Brazil, China, and yes, India, is increasing, people are indeed eating better. That’s a fact and it’s one of the greatest economic success stories in the history of the world.

We have kinks to work through for sure, but I believe the rhetoric should shift from one of blame to one of problem solving and expansion of world markets to feed the world.

This news item can also be viewed at: http://www.agweb.com