For Immediate Release
A problem that can’t be
From 2005 to 2008, global food prices have increased by 83 percent. Wheat is up an astounding 181 percent. It costs 120 percent more than just one year ago, contributing to a doubling of the cost for a loaf of bread in many parts of globe. Other staple crops such as corn, soy and rice are up more than 50 percent over the last year. The price of rice has risen more than 75 percent in the last two months alone.
Organizations that provide emergency food relief to the world’s poorest cannot afford to pay the rising cost of food aid. For example, the World Food Program (WFP) last year reported a $750 million dollar shortfall. Funds are needed now more than ever.
Rising prices threaten
governments around the globe
The World Bank estimates that up to 33 countries could face civil unrest resulting from the rise in global food prices.
The U.S. response
Agricultural development must be greatly increased. The U.S. agriculture aid has decreased from 11.4 percent of the total development assistance in 1983-84 to 2.3 percent in 2007. Spending on agriculture assistance dropped from 20 percent in 1980 to three percent in 2006. It is essential that we focus more aid on preventing disasters rather than just responding when they happen. Out of the1.2 billion in food aid to Africa in 2007, only $167 million was allocated to development projects compared to $1 billion for emergency food aid.
A very helpful step for individuals and countries to take can be just eating less meat. Meat production is energy intensive and requires large amounts of land, water and food crops to make small amounts of meat. “It takes about 7 pounds of corn to produce 1 pound of beef, 6.5 pounds of corn to produce 1 pound of pork, and 2.6 pounds of corn to produce 1 pound of chicken, according to the USDA.”
Empowering people with public
education and activism
"We the people can change the world," says Blackman. "We can influence government and private philanthropy to provide billions more dollars for the most ambitious, innovative and effective programs to help end extreme poverty and hunger worldwide."
A comprehensive plan
These strategies include many low-cost, proven methods that work directly with those in need, bypassing corrupt or inefficient bureaucracies. These solutions have already helped millions of people lift themselves from poverty. In order to continue these gains, we must respond to growing crisis of higher food prices worldwide.
The United States and other governments must be willing to provide further funds to food relief, more productive and sustainable agriculture. As food prices continue to escalate, so will these organizations costs.
"Today we have all the resources and methods to end extreme poverty and hunger worldwide," says Dave Peterson, director of the Africa Program at the National Endowment for Democracy and chairman of Hearts & Minds’s governing board. "Our new campaign is working to raise public support to make it happen. "
Hearts & Minds is an all-volunteer, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 1996. More than 8.5 million people have already downloaded more than 32 million online articles from their website. Additional information: www.change.net/press
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by Adam Goldberg, Hearts & Minds volunteer