PRC: "Don't Blame Us for the Food Crisis"

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 6/05/2008 12:21:00 AM
Appropriately, given changing global conditions, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is currently hosting its Food Summit in Rome. As you may already know, the presence of one Robert Mugabe at the summit has caused considerable consternation as he is held by many to be responsible for Zimbabwe's troubles over hunger. Anyway, while visiting China Daily, I came across the explanation below offered by Chinese officialdom at the conference as to why China is not to blame over high food prices. It is noteworthy that India and now China are taking similar strategies in passing the buck, especially to biofuel usage. As with all things, there are partial truths in these matters as high food prices are more likely to be a combination of several factors including Chindian and biofuel demand. But, don't take that line with the PRC:

Developed nations should not blame the developing countries for the rising demand for food and the surge in food prices across the globe, China's top agricultural official said Wednesday. Minister of Agriculture Sun Zhengcai said that as a developing nation, China has contributed greatly to world food security by providing for nearly a quarter of the world's population.

Some developed countries have blamed developing countries, including India and China, for the global food crisis. "The surge in food prices has been caused by multiple factors," Sun told the high-level conference on World Food Security, which began in Rome on Tuesday. He blamed rising crude prices, climate change and speculation for the food crisis. "It's not right to attribute the growing demand for food worldwide to the growth of developing countries or to specific policies of some countries."

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is hosting the three-day summit at a time when the world is experiencing a dramatic rise in food price. Food security is facing a threat from non-traditional sources, too, such as biofuels. More and more food products, especially corn, are being used to make biofuels, and this has the potential of creating more far-reaching problems.

A report jointly issued by the FAO and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently said the major reason behind the surging food prices is the increase in biofuel production by some developed countries.

Sun said China has succeeded in providing for its 1.3 billion people mostly from its domestic production. "And it has the capability to ensure long-term food security from domestic production." Thanks to its preferential agricultural policy, the country has reaped a bumper harvest in the last four years, with its production crossing 500 million tons last year.

China is committed to contributing to world food production and agriculture. "The country is using its expertise in agriculture, such as cultivating hybrid rice, to help other developing countries to increase their food production," he said.