Summitry of the Leanest

Irin sends news of the latest food summit, this time in Madrid. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that in 2008, 40 million more people were added to the rolls of the hungry. This seems a low-ball estimate, particularly given the galloping pace of the Depression at the end of the year. (The world’s hungry went up by 50 million from 2006 to 2007, when things were comparatively rosy.) But whatever the outcome of the summit (and I suspect it’ll be more of the same “we must try harder to increase world trade” message we saw from the FAO and G8 meetings last year) it’s certain that the consequences will be felt for years to come. [Via DM]

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The High Price of Cheap Ethanol

Brazil hopes to supply drivers worldwide with the fuel of the future — cheap ethanol derived from sugarcane. It is considered an effective antidote to climate change, but hundreds of thousands of Brazilian plantation workers harvest the cane at slave wages…. Read more at Truthout [via PW].

Buy Japanese!

How do you fight obesity, food import dependence, global warming and food price inflation, while eating great Japanese food? Live in Japan!

Here’s a public service announcement from the world’s largest importer of food which ends with a “why can’t consumers, producers and the food industry all get along – after all we’re all Japanese?” message which ignores the reason we’re in this mess at the moment. But the video nonetheless pushes the question – what’s your ministry of agriculture doing to join the dots between hunger, obesity and the globalisation of food? [Via DD]

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Rhodes Redux part 2

More on the New Scramble for Africa, courtesy again of the Financial Times. One of the most poisonous British companies, Lonro (formed from “London” and “Rhodesia”, the colonial name for Zimbabwe) is looking to relive the glory days of Empire, by getting a 25,000 hectare land deal in Angola. It is unlikely that they’ll be troubled by the public outcry that force Daewoo to back away from its claim over 1.3 million hectares of Madagascar. That is, unless readers in Britain want to take it to the streets (pretty please).

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Appeal from Palestinian Farmers

An Appeal For Help From The Palestinian Farmers Union

January 10, 2009

At the time we try to pull together our wounds, our voices are calling for help and support. We in the Palestinian Farmers Union appeal to all our brothers in the farmers and peasants Unions, we also appeal to all international organizations and solidarity with Palestinians organizations to work to stop the massacre, to stop the siege and to help and assist the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, for what they are facing steadfastly of Barbarian fierce attack by the Israeli occupation forces, as this aggressive bombardment reached children, women and the elders and even trees and stones.

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