Thursday, November 12, 2009

The UN Committed to Solving Global Hunger? Don't Be Fooled

We must give money to farmers in developing countries. It is, according to Jacques Diouf*:
“The most effective way to eliminate hunger from the face of the Earth.”
Bloomberg News published that in an article today that expounds the UN's commitment to curing the global hunger problem through, essentially, financial aid. The article almost convinced me that the UN is doing everything within their power to rectify this horrifying injustice.

But then I thought about subsidies.

I cannot put the argument better than Chris Mallinos of the Epoch Times (in this two-part series, summer 2009), so I'll let him say it:

Under the warm Italian sun, G8 leaders stood in unity [in July] to announce a $20 billion pledge to help farmers in developing countries. They smiled, posed for pictures, and heralded their plan as an important step in the battle against hunger.

What’s more, like in any good photo-op, the leaders managed to entirely avoid questions on anything of substance—namely how their very own farm subsidies will render that $20 billion essentially useless...

For all the talk of free markets and competition so often heard in the West, global agriculture remains a surprisingly lopsided industry. That’s because these subsidies fund massive overproduction in the West, which leads to the dumping of food into global markets...

Thousands of miles away, African farmers deal with near-barren fields, drought, inadequate equipment and a flood of subsidized Western products that undercut local prices...

Until local agricultural industries are allowed to compete in their own markets, instead of being drowned out by subsidized foreign imports, farmers and the economies they support will remain weak, unstable and dependent on others.

But for that to happen, we must first stop treating food as just another political commodity to profit from and begin seeing it for what it really is—a necessity of life and a human right.

Does anybody else see this? Does the UN realize this? If not, that's not very good. But if so, the implications are almost sinister.

Bloomberg News reports:
Diouf will go on a 24-hour hunger strike on Nov. 14-15 in solidarity with the hungry, he said.
It's a nice gesture, but how about the UN spearheading the push to remove all farming subsidies?

*Jacques Diouf is the Food and Agriculture Organization Director General; the FAO is part of the UN

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