World Hunger: Blame It on Farm Subsidies and Oil Prices, Says Brazil

Brazilian president Lula During his current visit to Ghana, in Africa, Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, blamed rising oil prices for the current global food crisis, saying that biofuels had nothing to do with the problem, as some have suggested.

He also insisted that escalating oil prices are pushing up freight costs, which in turn affects world food prices.

"Ethanol production has not contributed in any way to the food price crises," Lula told a news conference in Accra, where he was attending a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD.

However UNCTAD has criticized Brazil for encouraging its farmers to grow biofuels including sugarcane, castor beans and corn, instead of traditional food crops. The UN body says the shift is a factor in the reduction of food production.

Lula said such criticism was unfounded and that there is enough land for production of both food and biofuels, especially in Africa.

To solve the global food crisis, "rich countries should end subsidies to their agricultural production and they should open market access to agricultural produce from the developing world," underlined the Brazilian president.

"It is not fair that more than one billion people consume less than the necessary calories and protein for our survival," the Brazilian president said. He also called on developed countries to transfer their agricultural expertise to the developing world to enable them to produce their required crops

"The success that Brazil has achieved in food production can be done in Africa," he said after a meeting with Ghana's President John Kufuor. "Forty years ago, Brazil's savannah zones were considered wastelands, but technology has changed that" and Africa can do the same.

The two countries signed three agreements to transfer technology to Ghana for the production of biofuels and manioc.




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