Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Food. Farmers. World Crisis.

As news goes this is not entirely new but the updates emerging are disturbing
nonetheless :
Indian Farmers are committing suicide in ever-increasing numbers, at a
rate of one every 30 minutes !


(AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Approx. 29,000 Indian farmers committed suicide in my old home state of
alone between 1997 and 2005.
Maharashtra, one of the country's
richest States, whose capital, Mumbai, is home to 25,000 of India's 100,000 dollar
millionaires. Plagued by slumlords, atrocious interest loan rates illegally enforced by
loan sharks, illiteracy, and a Govt. busy courting the corporate bigwigs, the people
who tend to the crops that provide sustenance and power are killing themselves
and their families off. This leaves land uncared for, and dwindling crops leading to
vast Food shortages which will result in greater demand for Overseas Imports
which will naturally cost more due to the rising cost of Transportation which isn't
getting any cheaper soon thanks to the Fuel Crisis. Factor in a few recent Natural Disasters like the Myanmar Cyclones, Chinese Earthquakes and Tornadoes in
Oklahoma, and the world capacity to provide Food Aid shrinks alarmingly.

Finger-pointing at China and India by G.W. Bush recently drew this response at
The International Herald Tribune :

Developing nations like China and India have long been blamed for everything
from the rising cost of commodities to global warming, because they are consuming
more goods and fuels than ever before. But Indians from the prime minister's office
on down never fail to point out that per capita, India uses far fewer commodities
and pollutes far less than the West, and particularly the United States. '

Chart accompanying the article (click to enlarge)

While the world debates on the Food Crisis, the suicide epidemic continues.
The farmers say their plight is largely being ignored as the country rushes to
embrace the global marketplace. Few find it reassuring that India's agriculture
minister, Sharad Pawar, doubles as the nation's top cricket official.

No solutions here. Just me getting and giving a peek at what all this talk of
World Food Crisis is about. When I make more sense of it all I might post a
follow-up. In the meantime I strongly recommend these Important Links :

*The Suicide Economy Of Corporate Globalisation by Vandana Shiva (2004)
*Global Infromation and Early Warning System (GWS)

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