"A little conversation, a little more action please": Both people and the environment need action more than ever. Yet, what should our priorities be? Should we aim to protect the environment or feed more people? This dilemma is increasingly facing developing and emerging countries. In Asia, more than 600 million people live with on than 1 $ per day, and the situation is even worse in Africa. Besides, all the countries concerned by this issue have to face high inflation rates and great risks of social unrest. Does the protection of the environment (especially through investments in bio-fuels) justify growing prices when most people are not even able to pay for basic groceries? There is a belief that a choice must be made between bio-fuels and rice, but it is a mistaken one. The environmental issue matches up to the world food problems.
[...] How can the development of local agricultures be fostered? By buying machines, fertilizers and seeds thanks to help programs: Agricultural prices would increase, then stabilize and at the same time would generate higher revenues throughout a period long enough so as to enable agricultural stability and development. Therefore, the solution lies in an efficient policy that would support local production and local markets. We can here draw a parallel with Europe after World War II: production was encouraged to feed an increasingly urban population. [...]
[...] It is definitely time to act or the drama will repeat itself because of the demographic growth and the increase in the demand of emerging countries. Finally, there is a need for political will to initiate the change. The French presidency of the European Union is a great opportunity to place Europe in the front line. Still, all this doesn't mean that reforming agriculture will solve the whole problem. We will still have to consume less energy. We can't afford to harbor any illusion on how new technologies can enable us to pursue our Western way of life. [...]
[...] First, we need to figure out what the causes of the food-price crisis are. A slight deficit in the production of cereals added to an increasing demand on behalf of emerging countries (such as China) led to a significant increase in market prices. Although the prices of cereals had been decreasing for 40 years, they have recently doubled in only two years. Moreover, competition reigns, and it is with the most competitive producers that transaction prices are made. Hence, the instability of agricultural prices coupled with the competition led by major producing countries have discouraged farmers from South countries to produce themselves. [...]
[...] Warning of food riots: Time to change little conversation, a little more action please.” Indeed, both people and the environment need action more than ever. Yet, what should our priority be: protecting the environment or feeding more people? This dilemma appears more and more sharply to developing and emerging countries. In Asia, more than 600 million people live with less than 1 $ per day. This situation is even worse in Africa. Besides, all the countries concerned by this issue have to face high inflation rates and great risks of social unrest. [...]
[...] This surplus places the South under the supervision of the North, which is a problem. With the surplus, prices decrease rapidly, putting strain on local producers. Instead of cargo boats full of wheat, we should send a financial aid that would help them develop their own agricultural model. Autonomy of the South means that this surplus could be replaced by biofuels. Biofuels could stabilize the price of cereals and seeds, which is necessary for farmers from the South. The European agriculture model therefore has to participate in a global effort to put in place a global agriculture”, as the UN says. [...]
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