Top Left Link Buttons
  • English

Agriculture

Category Archives

Mexico’s Amb. to UN Denounces World’s “Indifference” to the “Specter of Hunger” Haunting the Planet

Mexico’s Ambassador to UN Denounces the World’s “Indifference” to the “Specter of Hunger” Which Haunts the Planet

April 20, 2021 (EIRNS) – Juan Ramón de la Fuente, Mexico’s Ambassador to the United Nations, published an op-ed in the April 19 edition of El Universal under the headline “The Specter of Hunger Haunts the Planet,” in which he denounces the “indifference” of most people to this gravest of problems, which he suggests should be considered a crime against humanity.

Blaming the rise of hunger on wars, the pandemic, and climate change, De la Fuente cites the president of the World Food Program, David Beasley, to the effect that “if you don’t feed people, you will be feeding conflicts.” He notes that the “specter of hunger is again haunting the planet in at least 30 countries,” and adds: “It is obvious that far greater resources are needed than are available, but so long as we don’t admit that hunger is the main motive for the disorderly and irregular migration which occurs in our region, from south to north, I greatly fear that the containment measures that may be adopted will continue to be insufficient…”

De la Fuente adds: “I don’t know what is more alarming: the magnitude of the suffering which hunger causes in the world today, or the indifference with which those of us who don’t go hungry react to it… [Hunger] is something that is happening in real time in many places. If deliberately denying people access to food constitutes a crime against humanity, the simple idea of children dying of hunger anywhere should, at the least, weigh heavily on our conscience. The numbers available in the reports I have mentioned lead me to conclude that no, we are not dealing with a specter. We are dealing with an implacable reality.”


WFP’s Beasley Signed a MoU with Venezuela: Addresses Soaring Hunger

WFP President Beasley Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Venezuelan Government To Address Soaring Hunger

April 20, 2021 (EIRNS) – The World Food Program will begin supplying school lunches to 185,000 impoverished pre-school and special-needs students in Venezuela this year, with the goal of providing daily meals to 1.5 million children by the end of 2023. That was the accord reached in a memorandum of understanding that the WFP signed this week with President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, during a trip to that country by WFP president David Beasley.

Hunger and starvation are not problems happening only “over there” in Africa or Syria. They are here – right on America’s doorstep, in Central and South America, including Venezuela.

Hunger in Venezuela has been skyrocketing in recent years, thanks largely to the killer sanctions imposed on that country by Washington (Republicans and Democrats alike). The WFP conducted a field study which estimated that, in 2019, 32% of the population suffered food insecurity and required assistance. Of those, 2.3 million were facing “severe food insecurity.” It is much worse today.

The hunger is due not so much to food shortages as such, but to the out-of-control inflation and forced devaluations, which are a result of financial warfare and denying Venezuela the ability to sell its plentiful oil exports in the dollar-dominated markets. The bolivar today trades at 1.069 {million} to the dollar; in December 2019 it stood at 55,00 to the dollar.

Internal food and other prices are set mainly in dollars, such that “the average wage which the majority of workers receive is less than five dollars per month, while chicken costs $2.40 dollars per kilo,” according to AP. An economic think tank linked to Venezuelan trade unions reported last December that a family of five with two adults earning the minimum wage did not have “even enough to purchase one breakfast a month.”

Beasley also traveled to Guatemala and Honduras in Central America, and reported that hunger had quadrupled in the past two years in that region, which now has 8 million people going hungry. Of those, 1.7 million are in the “emergency” category, meaning they required urgent food assistance to survive. He tweeted from Guatemala:

“15% of the people @WFP surveyed in Central America say they’re making plans to migrate in 2021—that’s 6 MILLION people! BUT, they also say if they have food security & livelihoods, they want to stay home!! Otherwise, they will do what we would all do to take care of our children.”


`… Soaring Food Prices and Conflict’ Increases Hunger by a Third in West Africa

`Explosive Mix of Soaring Food Prices and Conflict’ Increases Hunger by a Third in West Africa

April 19 (EIRNS) — The hunger situation in Africa continues to deteriorate, as relief efforts continue to be overwhelmed with new crises, and receive little help in response to their calls. In an April 16 release under the above title, the World Food Program warned that “more than 31 million people in [western Africa] are expected to [become] food insecure and unable to feed themselves during the coming June-August lean season – the period when food is scarce before the next harvest. That number is more than 30 percent higher than last year and is the highest level in the best part of a decade.

“Food prices have increased dramatically across the region. Local staples are up by nearly 40 percent over the 5-year average, and in some areas, prices are up by more than 200 percent. This is caused in part by the economic impact of measures put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus over the past year. People’s incomes have plummeted due to reductions in trade, tourism, informal activities and remittances.”

Chris Nikoi, WFP’s Regional Director for West Africa, explained that, “In West Africa, conflict is already driving hunger and misery. The relentless rise in prices acts as a misery multiplier, driving millions deeper into hunger and desperation. Even when food is available, families simply cannot afford it – and soaring prices are pushing a basic meal beyond the reach of millions of poor families who were already struggling to get by. The needs are immense, and unless we can raise the funds we need we simply won’t be able to keep up. We cannot let 2021 become the year of the ration cut,” he warned. [emphasis added]

This year, almost 10 million children under 5 are acutely malnourished across the region,” the WFP says, “with the Sahel alone accounting for half of that number. This number could rise significantly alongside the projected 30 percent increase in hunger, and the high prices of nutritious foods.”


‘Staggering’ Hunger Crisis: Democratic Republic of the Congo

‘Staggering’ Hunger Crisis Identified in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

April 7 (EIRNS)—The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program issued a cry of alarm yesterday, that they had found in their recently-completed review of the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a “staggering” scale of acute hunger. Some 27.3 million people—one in three citizens of that nation—are “acutely hungry,” with nearly 7 million of those people classified as in emergency status, one step below famine, able to survive only by such extreme strategies as selling off their last animal which provides their livelihood, or by begging.

“This makes the central African country home to the highest number of people in urgent need of food security assistance in the world,” the statement from the two agencies reports.

These figures include 3.3 million of that nation’s children who are malnourished, children who if not quickly provided with enough nutritious food may never recover from stunting of their mental and physical growth which malnutrition brings about.

WFP’s representative in the D.R. Congo, Peter Musoko, is quoted: “For the first time ever we were able to analyze the vast majority of the population, and this has helped us to come closer to the true picture of the staggering scale of food insecurity in the D.R.C. This country should be able to feed its population and export a surplus. We cannot have children going to bed hungry and families skipping meals for an entire day.”

The FAO Representative in the D.R. Congo Aristide Ongone Obame urged: “We need to urgently focus on growing food where it is needed most, and on keeping people’s sustenance-giving animals alive. The main agricultural season is around the corner and there is no time to waste.”

The two agencies drove home the human condition only reflected in these statistics: “Behind the numbers are the stories of parents deprived of access to their land, or forced to flee for their lives, watching their children fall sick for lack of food. WFP staff have met families who have returned to their village to find their home burnt to the ground and their crops entirely looted. Some have been surviving by eating only taro, a root that grows wild, or only cassava leaves boiled in water.”

Never forget that such intolerable conditions are not “natural,” nor unsolvable; they are the results of humanity’s failure to leave the oligarchical system behind. As American statesman Lyndon LaRouche proved scientifically, and China’s just-released White Paper “Poverty Alleviation: China’s Experience and Contribution” asserted, “poverty is not predestined, nor is it unconquerable…. With strong will and determination, as well as practical action, one can make steady progress towards overcoming poverty and realizing common prosperity.” China’s full report is here.


Ten Nations Most at Risk for Starvation

Ten Nations Most at Risk for Starvation

Apr. 4 (EIRNS)–It was a year ago April 21, when World Food Program Director David Beasley briefed the U.N. Security Council that widespread famines “of Biblical proportions” would take place, unless action was taken. This has come to pass. The 10 countries at the top of the list in Spring 2020, according to the April, 2020 “Global Report on Food Crises,” issued by the WFP were: Yemen, DRC, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Nigeria (Northern) and Haiti.
            Now today, these very same countries remain at the top of the list of 23 nations, listed in the March 23 “Hunger Hotspots” report released by the WFP and Food and Agriculture Organization, as an appeal for emergency action. Here are the particulars for these nations given under the heading, “Number of People in High Acute Food Insecurity in Hotspot Countries:” The number of people is given in millions for each nation: DRC (19.6,)  Afghanistan (16.9,)  Yemen (16.1,) Nigeria 13.0, in 15 states and the Federal capital,) Ethiopia (12.9,) Syria (12.4,)  Venezuela (9.3,) South Sudan (7.2,) Sudan (7.1,) Haiti (4.4.
            The total number in these top 10 nations of those in acute food security is 118.9 million.
The other 13 nations on the same list have a total of 27.8 million people in dire need, bringing the combined number to 147 million. The 13 nations are:  Guatemala, Honduras, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Central African Republic, Niger, Sierra Leone, Madagascar, Mali, El Salvador, and Liberia.

            The WFP release on the “Hunger Hotspots” report.


Big Farmer Protests in Paris–‘France, Do You Still Want Your Farmers?’

Big Farmer Protests in Paris — ‘France, Do You Still Want Your Farmers?’

Apr. 4 (EIRNS)–Paris (Nouvelle Solidarité) –”France, do you still want your farmers?”  These were the words used to describe the protest organised on Friday in the Greater Paris region by the French agricultural union FNSEA. Over the last weeks, despite the COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions, thousands of farmers and French farm organizations pulled out their tractors, notably in Clermont Ferrand and Lyon, to protest EU policies that put them “in danger of disappearing.”
            In Germany also, farmers were in the streets in mid-March to protest their impossible conditions.
            At the center of the French protest are the latest EU outlines to reform the Common Agricultural Policies (CAP,) a regulated production mechanism established by De Gaulle in 1962 to boost production and food security, which has always been attacked by London, and has been gradually destroyed and diluted.

            With the EU’s “Green New Deal”, the proposed reform of the CAP implies new legislation aimed at taxing the use of nitrogen fertilizer. The new Climate and Resilience Bill, which farmers describe as a “punitive and unfair” nitrogen fee, would “stigmatize” the use of chemical fertilizer without providing any alternatives, said the FNSEA, France’s largest farm union. The union says the new legislation ignored the changes already taking place in farmers’ practices and would reduce farm incomes without giving a “real response” to current climate issues.

            The potential fertilizer fee coupled with the Egalim Law (requiring French producers to themselves collectively negotiate prices with large distributors), which has put agriculture output  prices well below production costs, could be disastrous to farmers and their families. At the same time the CAP reform in its current form requires farmers to make vast efforts to initiate an agro-ecological transition that most of them consider unworkable, and farmers are venting their frustration. A Senate report published on March 17 noted the “immense distress” among French farmers, due in particular to the “low level of agricultural income and the feeling of denigration” of the profession by “constant agri-bashing.”
            For the farmers, the protest is also about sending a message “to our fellow citizens alerting them to the urgency of saving French agriculture” without which “our food autonomy and the preservation of our national quality production” cannot be guaranteed. The farmers called for a CAP “for farms, not firms,” that “has the ambition to have many farmers, in all territories and in all lines of production.”


US-China Ag Dialogue: ‘Be Happy Together With Others, Rather Than Trying To Be Happy Alone’

Apr. 2 (EIRNS)–On April 1, the third of four high level US-China Agriculture Dialogues took place, lasting almost 3 hours, titled, “Agriculture Education Dialogue: Together, how can the U.S and China transform agriculture?” The dialogue brought together the Deans and Presidents of Peking Univ., Nanjing Agricultural Univ., China Agricultural Univ., Zhejiang Univ., with UC Davis, Ohio State, the Tuskegee Institute, Oklahoma State and Iowa State Univ. The overall sponsor was the Missouri-based US Heartland China Association (USHCA). The topic was the state and future of agricultural education — extension services for the farmers themselves in China and the US, and educating students for careers in agriculture.
            Among the standout presentations, Prof. Sun Qixin of China Agricultural Univ., discussed the recent 40 year history of Chinese and American colleges exchanging students and training students together — he called this of “strategic importance.” Quoting President Xi, he explained the identity of food security and poverty alleviation for both China and for the whole world. He said that China’s development policy was to make sure that “we have a good environment for the Chinese people — China will never be a threat to other countries.” Quoting Mencius, he said, “It is better to be happy together with others, rather than trying to be happy alone.” He said that Yuan Longping is a friend of his, and that he had met with Dr. Borlaug in 1992 and in 2002. 

Prof. Huang Jikun of Peking Univ. stressed the many hundreds of ag science scholarly papers written jointly by Chinese and American researchers — written in both English and in Chinese — the authors pursuing food science with a single universal purpose. 

Prof. Kevin Chen, of the China Academy of Rural Development at Zhejiang Univ. described how the Chinese government has 1 million farm extension workers, serving 200 million farm families with small farms, many with aging farmers. He reported that only 40% of the farms have access to the internet — a problem to be solved. They have formed NAECP — the “National Cloud Platform for Grassroots Ag Tech Extension in China.”
            Among the Americans, Dr. Walter A. Hill, the Dean of the College of Ag, Environment, and Nutrition Sciences of Tuskegee University, made the greatest contribution. He framed his talk on the notion from WEB DuBois of “double consciousness” — seeing oneself and the world from “two sets of eyes,” one’s own and those of the oppressor. He said, “We need the brilliant young minds discussing China trade.” He reported that 90% of American farms are small farms, and most are losing money…” Speaking of the high quality of American Land Grant colleges (compared to the Ivy League), he said, “Big is not better. It’s the smaller that can produce the geniuses.” He called on Chinese universities to collaborate with Black colleges: “Let’s get Chinese to come here (to Tuskegee), and to work with us in a new way — I challenge you!”
            Stressing the rich common history of US-China collaboration in education, Prof. Zhu Jing, Dean at the Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU), reminded the audience that NAU was founded in 1921 by American ag economist and agricultural missionary for the American Presbyterian Mission, John Lossing Buck.
            The American speakers uniformly stressed sustainable agriculture and CO2 emission reduction (“climate-smart agriculture’). The world food crisis in the former colonial sector and the famine was not discussed, and only Prof. Sun discussed the China miracle of eliminating all extreme poverty in China. What was documented was a very deep 100 year history — continuing into the present — of the China-US joint passion for and science of food production improvement and expansion. The Dialogue was introduced by Chris Chinn, the Missouri Director of Agriculture, and by Tom Peterson, the Commissioner of the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture.


Yemen: A “man-made Hell” says WFP’s Beasley

WFP Chief on Yemen: “This Is Hell”

March 11, 2021 (EIRNS)–David Beasley, the executive director of the World Food Program, called the humanitarian disaster in Yemen “man-made,” and described the conditions in the war-ravaged country as “hell… the worst place on earth,” in a March 9 interview with the Associated Press. Beasley was speaking by video teleconference from Addis Ababa, following a tour of Yemen which included the capital of Sana’a. The WFP needs at least $815 million in Yemen aid over the next six months, but has only $300 million, he said, adding that the agency needs $1.9 billion overall for the year.

Beasley said that at a child malnutrition ward in a Sana’a hospital, he saw children wasting away from lack of food. Many, he said, were on the brink of death from entirely preventable and treatable causes, and they were the lucky ones who were receiving medical care.

“In a children’s wing or ward of a hospital, you know you normally hear crying, and laughter. There’s no crying, there’s no laughter, there’s dead silence,” he said. “I went from room to room, and literally, children that in any other place in the world would be fine, they might get a little sick but they’d get recovered, but not here.”

“This is hell,” he said. “It’s the worst place on earth. And it’s entirely man-made.” Yemen has been the victim of a Saudi war of aggression and a merciless blockade, under the direction of British policy-makers and with American support as well.

Beasley stressed that despite all the accusations, the Houthis have actually eased up on their restrictions on the work of humanitarian aid agencies. “We’ve turned a corner with the Houthis… in terms of cooperation, collaboration,” he said, adding that the only obstacle now is the lack of funding.


Great Leap Backwards: Pushback to Biden’s “30×30” Cuts in Food, Water …

Pushback Against Biden’s “30×30” Move to Cut Agriculture and All Human Use on 30% of U.S. Land, Water by 2030

Mar. 10 (EIRNS)–A key part of the Great Leap Backward is that land and water use must be dictated, first, by greening the environment, and only secondly, for agriculture use, which will produce far less food. This is explicit in the EU “Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies” May, 2020 document; and in the 2020 Agriculture Law of Britain. For the U.S., this green dictate appears in the “30 x 30” scheme, which says that by 2030, human use of any kind—agriculture, forestry, transportation, energy, minerals–must be reduced on 30 percent of U.S. land and water, including oceans.

Biden was programmed to say this during his 2020 campaign, and it was formally announced Jan. 27, in his Executive Order 14008, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad” (86 Fed. Reg. 7,619).

A huge pushback is underway. On Feb. 22, 17 state governors signed a letter to Biden, opposing the Federal government overreach on this. Many also issued their own press releases. The states include most of the farmbelt, e.g. the Dakotas, Montana, Nebraska, Idaho and others.

There are local meetings of all kinds in opposition. For example, March 2 in Wyoming, a resolution opposing the 30×30 plan, and calling for local consultation, was introduced in the Uinta County Commissioners meeting, by the county’s Citizens Coalition for Sound Resource Use. The Commissioners will take it up March 16.

Last night in the small town of Valentine, Nebraska, a public briefing was held by Margaret Byfield, who has been holding meetings across the Plains states to mobilize people. Her organization is the American Stewards of Liberty, based in Texas. See https://americanstewards.us/

The usual citation is made that 12 percent of U.S. land area is already currently in Federal control. Most of it is in the Western states, and varies widely state by state. However a 2020 estimate by the Federation of American Scientists is much higher.

The text of the EO 14008, in Section 216, directs various Federal departments to provide a report within 90 days of Jan. 27, “recommending steps that the United States should take, working with state, local, tribal and territorial governments, agricultural and forest landowners, fishermen, and other key stakeholders, to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30% of our lands and waters by 2030.”

The save-nature groups are all issuing specifics on where human uses should be locked out first—Sierra Club, National Geographic, Conservation Foundation and others. The National Wildlife Federation, for example, has put out, through its Associate VP for Public lands Tracy Stone-Manning, a starter list of which lands to lock up: 80,000 acres in Montana; 1.3 million acres of the Mojave Desert in Nevada; 250,000 acres in California of redwood forest and river rapids; and over 400,000 acres in Colorado.

The 30×30 catchy concept is also pushed in other nations, as a benchmark on the way to “50×50,” the crazed idea—also called “half Earth”—that by 2050, half of the land and water area of the Earth should be in a state of nature, minus people, so that biodiversity can prevail, and this, it is asserted, will keep creature life in balance, so that zoonotic diseases won’t happen, and life will be peachy.

The “half Earth” lunacy was promoted a few years back in a book by E.O. Wilson, the so called biologist. The Center for American Progress has backed it; and it was in the 2020 Democratic Party Platform, it is reported. A resolution was introduced in Congress on this. There is a 30×30 Ocean Alliance.

On October 4, 2020, Scientific American carried an article sub-titled, “The so-called 30 by 30 plan would protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters from development by 2030.” Under the main headline, “An Ambitious Strategy to Preserve Biodiversity,” the author is David Shiffman. He wrote,  “Scientific American’s historic endorsement of Joe Biden noted that Biden ‘has a record of following the data and being guided by science.’ With his campaign’s incorporation of 30 by 30 goals, that’s also true when it comes to biodiversity conservation…”

In May, the U.N. Biodiversity Summit will be in China in Kunming.