Tuesday, 8 April 2008

expect food riots says telegraph

daily telegraph

Soaring price of food ‘leads to riots’

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent

2:45am BST 07/04/2008

Rising food prices threaten economic stability and could trigger riots, Gordon Brown has been warned.
The World Bank said this week that the price of staple foods has risen by 80 per cent in the past three years. For consumers in wealthy nations such as Britain soaring prices are squeezing household finances and keeping inflation up. But for developing nations they can lead to malnutrition and social disruption.
Food prices are being driven up by shortages of supply
- often caused by bad weather - and by rising demand.
Mr Brown chaired the Progressive Governance Summit in Watford at the weekend and heard a string of warnings about the rising price of food.
António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told the summit the cost of food is leading to riots. He said: « The biggest problem today is rising food prices in democratic countries everywhere. This can trigger social unrest. »
The summit drew together some of the world’s most important Left-of-centre politicians, including former US president Bill Clinton.
Many at the meeting blamed the price hikes on US and European Union moves to use biofuels such as ethanol to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Ethanol, an alternative to petrol, is made using corn and its increasing use has pushed up maize prices.
The EU wants biofuels to make up more than five per cent of transport fuel used by 2010, and the US may triple the amount of maize it uses for ethanol over the next decade.
But Mr Clinton said: « What’s really hurting the food markets is America moving into ethanol. People there are moving into corn and you have pasta riots in Italy related to what some people are doing in farming in America. »

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