It is interesting to read newspaper articles about the world food crisis. It has become a daily blame game.
Columnists and reporters search high and low for someone to blame. Bad public policy is the primary target.
Biofuels/ethanol gets the most bad policy blame. America is more interested in fueling its SUVs than feeding the world is the cry of blame gamers. Brazilian rain forests being decimated in an insatiable quest to grow sugar cane for ethanol production is another target.
These same critics a few years ago were hailing the U.S. and Brazil for their biofuel policies to promote energy independence and reduce global warming.
Another blame for the world food crisis cited by Paul Krugman, New York Times columnist, cracks me up. He said one reason for the food shortage is the failure of the government and private grain dealers to maintain large inventories to head off a food crisis like the world is experiencing now. Who has paid for those large inventories over the years? Taxpayers like Paul Krugman who complained the loudest about government spending for U.S. farm programs, which includes commodity storage. Taxpayers get their way, and government support for grain storage is reduced. Now the world food crisis is the government’s fault. Make up your mind.
Another one that is almost laughable is blaming an “epic drought” in Australia on global warming. That is like blaming the never-ending West Texas drought on too many prairie dog towns west of Odessa, Texas. Got to blame droughts on something other than the fact that West Texas and Australia are arid climates where it does not rain often and never has.
Australia and West Texas have been in perpetual droughts long before Al Gore proclaimed global warming a problem.
I am not dismissing the problem. People are rioting because there is not enough food. People are going hungry because they do not have enough money to pay for food that costs 40 percent more than it did a year ago.
Blaming public policy and politicians is a waste of energy. The solution is simple; more food must be produced on this planet to not only feed impoverished nations, but to feed rapidly growing middle classes in places like China and India.
The world needs another Norman Borlaug and a new Green Revolution. That movement to increase grain yields worldwide saved as many as 1 billion people from starving to death in the 1980s.
Borlaug, in an article in the Wall Street Journal last summer shortly after he received the Congressional Gold Medal, America’s highest civilian honor, wrote:
“Persistent poverty and environmental degradation in developing countries, changing global climatic patterns, and the use of food crops to produce biofuels, all pose new and unprecedented risks and opportunities for global agriculture in the years ahead.
“Agricultural science and technology, including the indispensable tools of biotechnology, will be critical to meeting the growing demands for food, feed, fiber and biofuels.
“Plant breeders will be challenged to produce seeds that are equipped to better handle saline conditions, resist disease and insects, droughts and water logging, and that can protect or increase yields, whether in distressed climates or the breadbaskets of the world.”
The solutions to the world food crisis are at hand. It’s time to promote solutions rather than blindly blame.