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Published on 06 May, 2008

Global food crisis made worse by hoarding

International (MNN)– The global
food crisis is thought to be the worst in nearly half a century.  In a bid to prevent smuggling of main
staples, several countries have closed their borders to exports. 

As the price of rice soars, several
governments realize the political risk of millions of hungry countrymen on
their watch.

In response, officials are trying
to shield their populations from starvation. Several countries have introduced rationing, subsidies, and price-fixing
cartels, while a handful of them (China, Vietnam, Thailand, Nepal, Egypt, India)
have begun to close their borders in order to curb exports.

Two months ago, Cambodia banned
rice exports altogether. The move was
meant to ease the treble of rice prices pressure. The corresponding movement in the market deepened poverty in a nation where one-third of the population lives on less
than 50 cents a day.

Christian Reformed World Relief
Committee's
Jacob Kramer says it's a form of "hoarding" food. "It means that people who really need
the food–in particular those countries which are food-deficit, as we call
that–have to import food and will not
have an opportunity to do so. It means that it's tough to get your supplies. It
has certainly driven up the prices. We are paying just about double for what we
used to pay for maize."

Five years ago, a study of global
food security projected the number of hungry people in the world would drop by
23% to 625 million in 2025. Those
numbers no longer are reliable because of the rise in demand for biofuels and
the rise in costs for staples. The end
result, according to information from
the CRWRC, is that if projects remain unchanged, 1.2 billion people
will be at risk of starvation and hunger in 2025.

If the CRWRC is not able to obtain additional resources to help pay for the
food it distributes, cutbacks in programs could be put into place, moving
programs into a supplementary position.  Pray
for the teams serving Christ through CRWRC that they would continue to be able
to address the physical and spiritual needs. "One wants to serve the Lord,
and when you then see Satan move in the opposite direction, then that needs
lots of prayer–some would even conceive it as a spiritual battle."

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