July 23, 2014

Famine in the Horn of Africa caused by biofuels?

While African countries like Madagascar, Mail, and Senegal dedicate hundreds of thousands of hectares of land to biofuel production, countries in the horn of Africa are suffering from extreme famine as a result. Western countries like Italy, Germany, France, the United States, and Brazil all own multiple biofuel companies that operate in different parts of Africa. This means that all that land is being used to provide energy for western countries, and not to produce food crops that could be used to help those suffering from famine in the region. Additional problems like an expected low crop yield in Western Africa, a drought in the Horn of Africa, and massive floods in South-East Asia have also added to the increase in food prices. More than 11 million people are in desperate need of this food aid as a result of these natural and man-made disasters, and until farmers can profit from growing food crops, east African countries like Kenya will not be able to help themselves.

Countries in the Horn of Africa like Kenya and Ethiopia have already given 700,000 hectares of land to foreign biofuel producers, and the region can’t afford to lose all that land to one single crop. While we need to be providing food aid to the region, the amount of food aid the international community can afford has dropped as a result of these rising food prices. In order to create a long-term solution, western governments need to get rid of their biofuel quotas and subsidies because they are causing more farmers to switch the land that used to be used to grow crops to land for growing biofuel crops.

The United States is included in both the cause and solution to this problem. The United States is one of the biggest consumers of biofuel crops, so we have greatly added to this rise in food prices. So now we should also be sending food aid to the region to help alleviate the extreme famine being suffered there. Other western countries should be adding to this fund as well, Italy, Germany, and France all have big stakes in the region. The United Nations needs to raise more funds than ever, and the international community needs to send aid now, and decrease the demand for biofuel crops in the future.

Comments

  1. CHILD SLAVERY PLAYS A MAJOR ROLE IN WORLD HUNGER

    Child slavery causes many of the poor to to bring large numbers of children into this poverty. The more kids you make, the more money you get. This makes more hungry mouths to feed. This makes potential givers less likely to give – for obvious reasons. Therefore sustainable forms of poverty relief will make it more attractive to donate to charities. See: http://www.prevab.webs.com

    Where did all the love go? In the 70s and 80s there were many top musicians involved in helping the starving in Asia and Africa. However, this is not so trendy these days.

    One reason is that people do not have as much faith. An aim of the PREVAB project is sustainable poverty relief, by helping people to help themselves. Let’s face facts. Many people would be more likely to support poverty relief if they know that this will eventually lead to less poverty, not to greater numbers of hungry mouths to feed.

    Child labor is common in Ethiopia.

    One way to do this is to reduce child slavery. One method of doing this is to point out the fact that child slavery plays a major role in the increase of world hunger.

    Ethiopia lost over 90% of their forests in 50 years. They have since been hit by famine many times due to rain shortages and a depletion of natural resources. It was once a green and fertile land that is now facing desertification. Similar things are happening in many parts of the world. Deforestation increases the incidence of drought, as well as increasing global warming. A loss of vegetation causes desertification. Most of the forests which once covered the western world are gone. Asia’s Gobi Dessert and the desserts of Australia are growing. None of these are good for fighting hunger. What kind of world are we creating for our children, and their children?

    Ethiopia was once a green and fertile land.

    Child exploitation is a quick fix. A way to make money without working. Just as a man who is feeling miserable might over drink to feel better. A man who wants to avoid an unpleasant, low paying job, or get richer, might over breed to this end. In both cases, this makes the problem worse in the long run. In both cases, peer pressure might play a major role. In both cases, the overindulgence is a deterrent to provide charity, as this is likely to worsen the problem. The difference is that while the drunkard is only hurting himself, the child exploiter is hurting others. At the end of the day, it is the vulnerable who pay the biggest price. Child exploitation benifits those at the top. They get fat, while those at the bottom of the pyramid suffer.

    A man who becomes poor and hungry because he over indulges in drink might point out that it is not all his fault. Mahatma Gandhi said ‘The world has enough for everyone’s need not for everyone’s greed’. John Lennon said something similar. If they were asked if the overindulgence was the cause of povery, they would probabaly have claimed that there still is enough food and money produced in the world to feed the whole world, no matter how big the problem gets. That his hunger is therefore not the fault of his overindulgence, but the fault of those who are not charitable enough. However, those who might be charitable are afraid that giving money will result in more overindulgence and a bigger problem. Some say it is actually cruel to save a million people from starving, as this is likely to result in many more starving in the long run. However, educating the starving might result in less over indulgence. Therefore, aiding these problems with education, as well as food, might prove more attractive to potential givers, than just providind food. A man who becomes poor and hungry because he over indulges might point out that he was put through stress by others. He will state that people told him to over indulge. In both cases, he will be right. The former is hard to remedy, the latter is not.

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