Sunday, May 18, 2008

Food crisis in a graph

The NYT has this excellent graphic to illustrate the food crisis we are facing now.

Consider these figures
1. Adjusting for inflation and exchange rates, the wealthy countries, as a group, cut donations to agriculture in poor countries roughly in half from 1980 to 2006, to $2.8 billion a year from $6 billion. The United States cut its support for agriculture in poor countries to $624 million from $2.3 billion in that period.

2. Adjusted for inflation, the World Bank cut its agricultural lending to $2 billion in 2004 from $7.7 billion in 1980.

1 comment:

gaddeswarup said...

Around 1987, many US farm groups protested the US assistance in agriculture to developing countries. Perhaps as a response to that there was a 1989 report from the Congrssional budget office
explaining why such assistance would be good for US agricultural trade in the long run. It is about 110 pages. Here is a small excerpt:
"Recent research has found that many developing countries tend to
increase their imports of food as their agriculture develops. Two key relationships hold here: advances in agricultural efficiency, often accompanied
by greater agricultural output, contribute to overall economic
growth and higher incomes; in turn, higher incomes stimulate
the demand for food. In many cases, the demand for food grows faster than the supply of food, resulting in greater food imports. These linkages help explain the apparent paradox that impressive gains in agricultural production by developing countries overall have been accompanied by solid growth in their agricultural imports—and notably in their imports of U.S. farm products. The evidence argues strongly that the encouragement of economic growth in developing countries, including (and in many cases especially) agricultural development
makes sense not only from the humanitarian and foreign policy standpoints but also in the narrower terms of U.S. economic
interests. These generalizations represent a view now widely held by development economists."
So, I think that it is understandable if aid from US and World Bank ( which to some extent is an arm of US) is reduced when US itself has problems. I think that countries like China and India should step in. According to a report in Nature (1st May) countries like India, China, Brazil have increased their research spending.