Sunday, October 23, 2011

US must stop promoting biofuels to tackle world hunger, says thinktank

America must stop promoting the production of biofuels if there is to be any real progress in addressing spiking global food prices and famine, such as seen in the Horn of Africa, an authoritative thinktank has warned.

A new report, the Global Hunger Index, warned that US government support for corn ethanol was a major factor behind this year's food price spikes – and was projected to fuel further volatility in food prices over the next decade.

Although the report noted some improvements over the past 20 years, 26 countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, are still at extreme risk of hunger including Burundi, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Eritrea.

The hunger situation worsened most dramatically in the DRC with a 63% increase in hunger and undernourishment since 1990, the report warned. Burundi's hunger index rose by 21% and North Korea's by 18%.

And while Latin America, south-east Asia and the Caribbean made "remarkable progress" in reducing hunger, the report singled out India in particular for failing to improve the situation of its poorest people despite rapid economic growth since 2001.

India had "alarming" rates of hunger and undernourishment, putting it in line with the situation in sub-Saharan Africa. more