Archive for the ‘food security’ Category

Vietnam Needs to Increase Rice Exports to Africa, Tuoi Tre Says

November 26, 2008

Vietnam needs to increase rice shipments to Africa as there is strong demand for the country’s exports, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported, citing three officials from the continent.

African nations buy about 20 percent of Vietnam’s rice exports and have become the third-largest market after Asia and the Middle East, the report said, citing government data released yesterday at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Southeast Asian nation shipped about 1 million metric tons of rice to Africa this year, Tuoi Tre said, without giving figures for earlier years.

The officials named in the report included Macaria Baira, vice chairwoman of International Cooperation and Integration for South Africa and Jules Touka from Cameroon’s Chamber of Commerce.

From Bloomberg,
By Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen

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Vietnam to grow genetically modified crops

November 13, 2008

Vietnam plans to test genetically modified (GM) agricultural crops from now until 2010 and then grow them on a large scale, media reports in the communist country said on Thursday.

Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat announced the plan in a National Assembly session this week, said the state-run Vietnam News Agency.

AFP

Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat talks to media in 2006. Vietnam ... 
Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat talks to media in 2006. Vietnam plans to test genetically modified (GM) agricultural crops from now until 2010 and then grow them on a large scale, media reports in the communist country said on Thursday.(AFP/File/Hoang Dinh Nam)

Under the government plan, Vietnam would from 2011 plant GM species of maize, cotton and soybean, said the news site Vietnamnet quoting experts attending a recent biotechnology workshop.

The Ho Chi Minh City Biotechnology Centre plans to grow a GM maize variety from the Philippines on a trial basis, the report said.

GM technology has been highly controversial, praised by some for increasing yields and improving varieties, and condemned by others for creating “frankenfoods” that pose dangers to the environment and people’s health.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081113/sc_afp/vietnambio
techagriculturegm_081113171333

Vietnam Urges Rice Exporters to Buy, Ship Stockpiles

November 7, 2008

BVietnam, the world’s second-biggest rice exporter [after Thailand], is calling on companies to buy up stockpiles from farmers for shipment overseas before the harvest this month, according to a statement on the government’s Web site.

By Van Nguyen and Rattaphol Onsanit, Bloomberg

State-run Vietnam Southern Food Corp. and Vietnam Northern Food Corp. will have to buy 300,000 metric tons that meet export standards, said the statement, citing Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai. The ministries of trade and foreign affairs together with the Vietnam Food Association will seek overseas customers.

The Southeast Asian nation is facing a rice glut after restricting exports earlier this year amid concerns there may be a shortage. Increased exports may further depress global rice prices, which have slumped about 40 percent in Chicago since reaching a record in April.

“Vietnam’s rice production has been rising, and its government is encouraging traders to get this supply out,” said Visut Tanprasatprinya, vice president of Bangkok-based Siam Rice Trading (Thailand) Ltd., which ships around 200,000 tons a year. “That’s why we see prices tanking.”

The price of Thailand’s 100 percent grade B white rice, a benchmark for the commodity across Asia, was set at $595 a metric ton this week by the Thai Rice Exporters Association. That’s the lowest price since March.

Higher rice shipments may help Vietnam to sustain economic growth after the government pared back targets for expansion this year because of surging inflation, a widening trade deficit and the global financial crisis.

Debt Payments

Deputy Prime Minister Hai asked Vietnam’s commercial banks to extend companies’ overdue debt payments and grant more loans at the “lowest possible lending rate,” allowing them to purchase more rice, said the statement, which was issued yesterday.

Exporters borrowed more than 18.8 trillion dong ($1.1 billion) in the first nine months to buy 3.2 million tons of rice, the central bank reported, according to the statement.

The total amount of rice available for export this year may be 5.3 millions tons, instead of an August projection of 4.6 million tons, the Lao Dong newspaper reported on Nov. 1., citing the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Between January and October, the country shipped about 4 million tons….

Above: Vietnamese farmers harvest rice…

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http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/new
s?pid=20601013&sid=a83GZC6EPFgU

Food Security: Investment Needed to Make Africa Self-Sufficient in Rice

November 3, 2008

Greater investment to double rice production in Africa is needed to reduce food insecurity as well as improve livelihoods, specialists urged.

 

Consumption of rice in Africa is growing faster than any crop and, according to the Africa Rice Center has done so at an average of five percent per year since 1960.

Reuters

 

“We believe that rice can help move people out of poverty, not just food insecurity,” said Namanga Ngongi, president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an African-led partnership that helps small farmers boost productivity and income.

 

“Rice has a high potential for development in Africa as it is a tropical crop,” Ngongi said. He was speaking at a regional meeting, which is bringing together specialists to consider how to double production to 28 million tonnes by 2017/2018.

 

“We know what we can and should do with rice. Doubling production will be difficult but it is possible,” according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The agency plans to scale up grants, loans and technical cooperation to improve output.

 

Supply versus demand

 

Despite an increase in production in sub-Saharan Africa to 14.2 million tonnes (of paddy) in 2006 from 8.6 million tonnes in 1980, demand still outstrips supply.

 

In Kenya, annual production has halved to 45,000MT since 2006 due to drought, new diseases and limited access to good quality seeds and fertiliser, said Agriculture Minister William Ruto. The national demand is 300,000MT.

 

“Kenya does not have an active rice-breeding programme,” he said. “There is an urgent need to streamline rice research to take advantage of new technologies for boosting rice productivity.”

Read the rest:
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/7c78c4a9
50f8176639487a7be3ba9817.htm

U.N. agencies weigh response to food crisis

April 28, 2008

GENEVA (Reuters) – Leading figures from the United Nations met in Switzerland on Monday to chart a solution to dramatic food price increases that have caused hunger, riots and hoarding in poor countries around the world.
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Vietnam acted to quell panic over rice supplies on Monday, banning speculation in the market after a “chaotic” buying binge in the Southeast Asian nation highlighted growing global fears about food security. 
A Vietnamese rice paddy worker….

The move by the world’s second-biggest rice exporter came as protests continued in some states in Africa over soaring costs for food and fuel which aid experts say threaten to push 100 million people worldwide into hunger.

Against this backdrop, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gathered together the heads of 27 international agencies including the World Bank, World Food Programme and World Trade Organisation to coordinate a response.

Officials familiar with the closed-door session said the main priority was to ensure that food aid reached those desperately affected by surging prices of wheat, rice, dairy products and other dietary staples.

Ban, who has described rising food prices as a “global crisis” and urged world leaders to discuss ways to improve food distribution systems and production, will address the press in the Swiss capital Berne on Tuesday.

Ban Ki-moon
반기문/潘基文
Ban Ki-moon

Experts have linked the problems to factors including drought in Australia, higher fuel costs, the use of crops for biofuels and speculation on global commodity markets.

U.S. President George W. Bush is considering “what other aspects need to be taken care of” to help ease the crisis after announcing a $200 million increase in food aid earlier this month, according to White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

“He’s really concerned about the humanitarian condition around the world,” she told reporters on Monday.

Meanwhile world aid groups continue to reel from the jump in food prices. World Vision, one of the globe’s largest humanitarian organizations, said it may have cut 1.5 million people, or 23 percent, from its aid program because of a strained budget.

“Despite our best efforts, more than a million of our beneficiaries are no longer receiving food aid,” said Dean Hirsch, president of World Vision International. “At least a third of these are children who urgently need enough healthy food to thrive.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080428/ts_nm/food_dc;_
ylt=AvuHqABELenB0dee53uVu.is0NUE

Silent Tsunami: Food Prices Causing Misery, Strife Around the World

April 21, 2008

Apr 17th 2008
From The Economist print edition
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PICTURES of hunger usually show passive eyes and swollen bellies. The harvest fails because of war or strife; the onset of crisis is sudden and localised. Its burden falls on those already at the margin.

Today’s pictures are different. “This is a silent tsunami,” says Josette Sheeran of the World Food Programme, a United Nations agency. A wave of food-price inflation is moving through the world, leaving riots and shaken governments in its wake. For the first time in 30 years, food protests are erupting in many places at once. Bangladesh is in turmoil (see article); even China is worried (see article). Elsewhere, the food crisis of 2008 will test the assertion of Amartya Sen, an Indian economist, that famines do not happen in democracies.

Famine traditionally means mass starvation. The measures of today’s crisis are misery and malnutrition. The middle classes in poor countries are giving up health care and cutting out meat so they can eat three meals a day. The middling poor, those on $2 a day, are pulling children from school and cutting back on vegetables so they can still afford rice. Those on $1 a day are cutting back on meat, vegetables and one or two meals, so they can afford one bowl. The desperate—those on 50 cents a day—face disaster.

Roughly a billion people live on $1 a day. If, on a conservative estimate, the cost of their food rises 20% (and in some places, it has risen a lot more), 100m people could be forced back to this level, the common measure of absolute poverty. In some countries, that would undo all the gains in poverty reduction they have made during the past decade of growth. Because food markets are in turmoil, civil strife is growing; and because trade and openness itself could be undermined, the food crisis of 2008 may become a challenge to globalisation.

Read the rest:
http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=11050146

Global Food Crisis: Hungry in Egypt

April 21, 2008

By Jackson Diehl
The Washington Post
Monday, April 21, 2008; Page A15

….For more than half a century, the Arab world’s most populous country has been run by a military-backed dictatorship that has supplied its millions of poor with subsidized bread. Consequently, Egypt consumes more bread per capita than France, and the only time the regime’s power was seriously challenged came in 1977, when Anwar Sadat‘s attempt to cut bread subsidies provoked bloody riots.

Thirty years later, Egypt still has subsidized bread but also a free market, which siphons much of the bread away through corruption. As global prices have soared in the past year, cheap bread has been disappearing from Egyptian shops, and free-market prices have risen 48 percent. The predictable result came on April 6, when workers at the country’s largest textile factory, in the city of Mahalla el-Kubra, attempted to strike, only to be blocked by a massive deployment of security forces. Angry crowds took to the streets for two days. Schools and shops were burned, a huge billboard of President Hosni Mubarak was torn down and at least two people were killed when police opened fire.

Mubarak responded to the trouble the way the regime always has. His prime minister and a host of other officials rushed to the smoldering city to purchase peace. The textile workers were promised a month’s bonus pay and new health-care facilities for their town. Mubarak ordered the army to begin baking and distributing more bread and lifted tariffs on some food imports. Meanwhile, his prosecutors brought charges against some 150 people blamed for the unrest….

Egyptians buy government subsidized bread from a bakery in Cairo, ...
Egyptians buy government subsidized bread from a bakery in Cairo, Egypt Wednesday, April 16, 2008. Egypt’s government is struggling to contain a political crisis sparked by rising world food prices. Violent clashes have broken out at long lines for subsidized bread, and the president, worried about unrest, has ordered the army to step in to provide more.(AP Photo/Hossam Ali)

Read it all:
 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/20/
AR2008042001752.html

Rice Grain Could Change Your Life by Badong
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RICE!

Philippines to Accelerate Food Security Discussion

April 20, 2008

From Peace and Freedom: A shortage of rice has created unrest in the streets in the Philippines.  As a result, as in many other countries, “food security” is now the number one topic in the government….

By Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
April 20, 2008
 

MANILA, Philippines–After a six-week recess, Congress resumes its session Monday afternoon with food security at the top of the agenda and the population control bill to be given a second look.

Speaker Prospero Nograles said on Sunday all measures pending in the House of Representatives pertaining to food security should be addressed before Congress adjourns in June.

Nograles also said the chamber would pass a legislated wage hike if the regional wage boards were to fail to pass adjustments ordered by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Food is the priority for everyone, not only for the House,” Nograles told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net) on Sunday.

“All agriculture bills on food production and sufficiency will be discussed,” he said.

Read the rest:
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view_article.php?article_id=131627

Malaysia to spend $1.3B to tackle inflation, food security

April 19, 2008

Today Online (Malaysia)

Malaysia’s government said Saturday it would spend four billion ringgit (1.3 billion dollars) to increase food production and tackle price hikes as the country faces spiralling global oil and food costs.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he would also set up a high-level anti-inflation committee to tackle these issues, state news agency Bernama reported. However, he did not say how the money would be allocated. 
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

Anger over rising food and fuel prices was a key issue in general elections last month, and one of the factors credited with Abdullah’s ruling coalition facing its worst performance in its half-century history.

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http://www.todayonline.com/articles/249353.asp

France to double aid for food crisis

April 19, 2008

PARIS (AFP) – France will double its emergency food aid this year, spending 60 million euros (100 million dollars), President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday, as he warned the world’s food crisis was breeding unrest.
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“We must act urgently to strengthen food security at a time when 37 countries are going through a very serious food crisis,” Sarkozy told a major meeting on climate change in Paris.

A French farmer at work near Gaillargues. France will double ...
A French farmer at work near Gaillargues. France will double its food aid this year, spending 60 million euros (100 million dollars) as part of its response to the world crisis over soaring food prices, President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced.(AFP/File/Dominique Faget)

“We cannot remain indifferent to the unrest among those people who, in the developing countries, can no longer satisfy their hunger.”

Soaring prices for basic grains — rice, wheat, soybean and corn — have provoked protests and rioting in at least half a dozen developing countries in past months, and has toppled the government of one.

Last weekend, Haiti‘s premier Jacques-Edouard Alexis was ousted in a no-confidence vote after more than a week of violent demonstrations….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080418/bs_afp/francepovertyinflationaid_
080418095730