Biofuel production is certainly one of the culprits in the current global food crisis. But while the diversion of corn from food to biofuel feedstock has been a factor in food prices shooting up, the more primordial problem has been the conversion of economies that are largely food-self-sufficient into chronic food importers. Here the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) figure as much more important villains.
Whether in Latin America, Asia, or Africa, the story has been the same: the destabilization of peasant producers by a one-two punch of IMF-World Bank structural adjustment programs that gutted government investment in the countryside followed by the massive influx of subsidized U.S. and European Union agricultural imports after the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture pried open markets. .
African agriculture is a case study of how doctrinaire economics serving corporate interests can destroy a whole continent’s productive base.
The full article can be found here: http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/08/editorials/bello_afag.htm
Walden Bello is a senior analyst at Focus on the Global South, a program of Chulalongkorn University's Social Research Institute, and a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org). This article first appeared in Foreign Policy In Focus and may be viewed at http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5271.