For Brazil, US and EU Farm Subsidies and Not Biofuels Are the Villain

    Corn

    Corn The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, made an impassioned defense of biofuels rejecting that they are responsible for the recent rise in global food prices, during the opening ceremony of a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) conference in Brazilian capital BrasÀ­lia.

    President Lula also criticized industrial countries for subsidizing agriculture, which he blamed for undermining the competitiveness of developing nations and reducing world production.

    "Biofuels aren't the villain that threatens food security," he said adding that "on the contrary … they can pull countries out of energy dependency without affecting foods."

    A chorus of opposition to biofuels has been growing in different parts of the world in recent months. Environmental groups, government ministers and even world leaders like President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Cuba’s Fidel Castro have all voiced their concerns that the use of crops like sugar-cane and corn to make fuel for cars could lead to a serious food crisis.

    Critics claim biofuels are also partly responsible for the recent rise in global food prices.

    And Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur for Food Rights and a Swiss national, has described biofuel production as "a crime against humanity."

    President Lula, whose country is the world's largest exporter of biofuels such as ethanol made from sugarcane, said it was easy for someone sitting in Switzerland to preach to Brazil.

    He said allegations that global food prices were rising because of biofuels were baseless. Food prices were going up, he said, because people in developing countries like China, India and Brazil itself were simply eating more as their economic conditions improved.

    The president has signed several important cooperation deals with the US, another leading biofuels producer, as well as with several African countries, to work together to improve production.

    The battle against biofuels has united a dichotomous group ranging from environmental activists to the leaders of some of the world's largest oil producing countries

    "The real crimes against humanity are discarding biofuels and criticizing countries, energy dependence and food insecurity," he said. "If there is no reduction of agricultural subsidies in Europe, it will be difficult for poor countries to be competitive".

    Mercopress

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    • Show Comments (17)

    • João da Silva

      Jon
      [quote]Ch. C. failed the entrance exams to the U of T because of his fondness for upper case letters and exclamation points[/quote]

      Spot on again.We have a thick file on Ch.C and according to the confidential info, he flunked TOEFL and hence was not admitted to any learning institutions in the hostile Canuck country. RCMP is on the job, as usual.

      And you Jon, you better keep your sidewalk clean, shoveling all the snow. It is a hard work, but very exciting.

    • jon

      JOAO
      Ch. C. failed the entrance exams to the U of T because of his fondness for upper case letters and exclamation points

    • DU 48

      Rice – and Credit Suisse – no connection
      It’s been reported in Brazil that all rice exports have been temporarily haulted in order to protect the home market supplies.
      Credit Suisse International Director for Operations in Brazil,Peter Schaffnert and Christian Peter Wiess have been been arrested in Sao Paulo – part of Operacao Suica- a Federal Police investigation into money laundering since 1997.

    • João da Silva

      Jon
      [quote]You said Brazil is one of the “breadbaskets of the world”
      [/quote]

      Jon, do you think that good old Ch.c has to take a crash course in English in U of Toronto? 😉

    • ch.c.

      To the UNsmart JON !!!!!
      You said Brazil is one of the “breadbaskets of the world”

      Sorry but Brazil is one of the WORLD LARGEST IMPORTERS….OF WHEAT !!!!

      And as far as I know bread is made with wheat…..not soyabeans or corn !!!!

      No doubt you goofed completely on that one.
      May be you wanted to say Brazil is one of the “foodgarden” or whatever….but certainly not a “breadbasket” !!!!

      😉 😀 😉

    • João da Silva

      Jon
      [quote]Bingo! You are good..you saw through too many of my Canadian references..[/quote]

      I was trained by Inspector Jack Clousseou 😀

      [quote]and besides needed to give Gringo the Canuck representation[/quote]

      I hope Gringo doesn’t live on the Northern part of our island and is not paddling his canoe hard to escape the floods!. It has been raining quite heavily during the past two days.

      [quote]Brazil, Argentina, the Canadian Praires, the American Mid-west regions etc, were all called the “breadbaskets of the world” for a reason[/quote]

      You are spot on again. Only the ones who have traveled through those regions would appreciate the richness of the land the God gave to the human beings so that they can use it wisely to feed themselves and others.

    • João da Silva

      Forest
      [quote]HAY JOAO WHAT DID LULA SAY ABOUT THIS[/quote]

      Forrest, though Lula has not come back from Ghana yet, he did make a statement which you can read in the following link:

      [url]http://www.estadao.com.br/economia/not_eco160319,0.htm[/url]

      Somehow I anticipated the victory of Lugo , though not LulaÀ‚´s touching on the subject of renegotiation of the contract over Itaipu hydroelectric dam so soon after the Paraguayan election results.

      My opinion is that the Paraguayans needed a break from that “Colorado” party and who knows, an ex-Bishop may be able to better their lives with the help of Brazil & Argentina? I don’t think that Lugo will go too overboard with Chavez or Evo. There again, only the time will say.Ah, remember the Bush family bought a large farm in Paraguay last year. May be Bush would contribute to the economy of Paraguay after his mandate is over this year end, by moving to his ranch in that country.

    • Forrest Allen Brown

      HAY JOAO WHAT DID LULA SAY ABOUT THIS
      ASUNCION, Paraguay – Former Roman Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo won a historic victory in Paraguay’s presidential election Sunday, ending more than six decades of one-party rule with a mandate to help the nation’s poor and indigenous.

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      His rival, Blanca Ovelar, conceded defeat after a closely fought race to lead this poor, agrarian nation where Ovelar’s Colorado Party is the only ruling party most people have ever known.

      News of the win by Lugo, dubbed the “bishop of the poor,” set off massive parties in cities across Paraguay with horn-honking caravans of cars blaring music. Others stamped on torn-down banners of the Colorado Party, which many Paraguayans blame for decades of corruption by political elites.

      The triumph by Lugo’s eclectic opposition alliance also marked the latest in a series of electoral wins by leftist, or center-left, leaders in South America.

      “Today you have spoken at the polls,” Lugo, 56, told tens of thousands of supporters in downtown Asuncion, as fireworks burst under a full moon. “You have decided what has to be done in Paraguay. You have decided to be a free Paraguay. Thank you, thank you, all of you!”

      Journalism student Andrea Ramirez, 19, waved a Paraguayan flag at the rally. “I voted for the first time and am very happy. The shameless and cynical ones have lost.”

      With 12,983 of some 14,000 balloting stations counted, officials said Lugo had 41 percent of the vote, Ovelar had 31 percent and former army chief Lino Oviedo had 22 percent. Minor candidates accounted for the remaining votes. Election officials said that the tally accounts for nearly 1.7 million votes À¢€” out of a 2.8 million electorate.

      Olivar, a former education minister and protege of outgoing President Nicanor Duarte, conceded that she had lost after initially disputing exit poll results. She would have been Paraguay’s first female president.

      “The outcome is irreversible,” Ovelar, 50, said on national television five hours after polls closed after largely peaceful voting. Election officials said Sunday’s voting had the highest turnout À¢€” about 66 percent À¢€” of any presidential election since the end of the 35-year dictatorship of the late Gen. Alfredo Stroessner.

      Lugo’s triumph shattered the 61-year grip on national power by the Colorado Party, which had endured through dictatorship and democracy to become the region’s longest-ruling party. It had been in power longer than Cuba’s Communist Party.

      In Paraguay’s long-volatile politics, Lugo still awaited final official returns confirming his landmark triumph, which would make him he first former Catholic bishop elected as a head-of-state.

      Supporters of Lugo set off booming volleys of fireworks in the Paraguayan capital, the cacophony swelling for hours after the exit polls project a stronger-than-expected victory for Lugo.

      “Lugo, yes! Blanca, no!” people shouted.

      News broadcasts showed two minor scuffles outside polling places Sunday, but officials said voting was without serious incidents.

      The Colorado Party had long stayed in power thanks to an extensive party apparatus and hundreds of thousands of loyal government civil servants.

      Eight months ago, Lugo welded leftist unions, Indians and poor farmers into a coalition with Paraguay’s main opposition party: the conservative Authentic Radical Party.

      Lugo then launched a charismatic campaign in which he blamed Paraguay’s deep-seated economic woes on decades of corruption by an elite that ruled at the expense of the poor in a country of subsistence farmers.

      A bishop since 1994, he resigned the post in December 2006 to sidestep Paraguay’s constitutional ban on clergy seeking office. Lugo says he was influenced by the liberation theology frowned upon by the Vatican. But he declares he is neither on the “left” nor the “right,” but leads an independent, pluralistic coalition.

      Lugo has distanced himself from the region’s more radical leaders, such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, despite efforts by his opponents to link them.

      “Chavez is a military man and I have a religious background,” Lugo told reporters in Washington last year. “My candidacy has arisen at the request of the people, it was born in a different way than Hugo Chavez’s.”

      Fueling his charge was voter disenchantment with 13 percent joblessness in South America’s poorest country after Bolivia. Some 43 percent of the 6.5 million Paraguayans live in poverty, and many survive on a meal a day.

      Paraguayans were also voting to seat a 45-member Senate, an 80-member lower House of Deputies and 17 governors.

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    • jon

      Joao,

      Bingo! You are good..you saw through too many of my Canadian references..the Finland thing was a ruse I wasn’t intentionally trying to portray and besides needed to give Gringo the Canuck representation

    • João da Silva

      Jon
      Jon,

      You don’t have to answer my question, if you really don’t want to:

      Are you a Canuk?

    • jon

      Brazil, Argentina, the Canadian Praires, the American Mid-west regions etc, were all called the “breadbaskets of the world” for a reason

    • João da Silva

      Forrest
      [quote]has any one ever thought that by the US and UE paying there farmers ,
      it should force the second and third world countries to keep there food at home and feed there own
      instead of having millions of tons of free food given by the first world peoples and countries .
      while there goverment and the rich make money off selling there food abroad ????
      [/quote]

      I have always thought about this. There again, I am a rare specimen !!

    • Forrest Allen Brown

      rood or fuel
      has any one ever thought that by the US and UE paying there farmers ,
      it should force the second and third world countries to keep there food at home and feed there own
      instead of having millions of tons of free food given by the first world peoples and countries .
      while there goverment and the rich make money off selling there food abroad ????

      and there people starve in a country full of food

      as far as green fuel goes the major oil exporters dont want any other form of fuel out there as it cuts into there profits
      as you can see the spike in oil by the barrel .
      they have gotten use to all the money and cant stop spending it

      so as other things come on line they will push up oil price
      till one day we will no longer be held hostage by them OPEACKERS
      want to bes like chaves

      so get use to it

    • João da Silva

      Jon
      [quote]Farmers in Brazil, Argentina and others fill in this void and clear or alter land for soya production resulting in environmental degradation of some form or another. I see Argentina has been engulfed in smoke from farmers clearing land for soya.We soon see mono-agriculture on the rise. I think we can connect the dots and see everything is connected in some form or another to these food shortages however how noble the causes are on the side[/quote]

      You are absolutely right. What amazes me is that Soya is not the staple diet of either Brazilians or Argentines. Rice and wheat, period. Now, we have switched on to the mono-agriculture of producing Soya or Sugar cane.I did watch the news about Argentina. Also not mentioned in the national news here or the world news is that the price of Rice is about to go up by 50% in Brasil in the next few months. I don’t know if you know the Southern part of our country or the “pampas” of Argentina. Years ago, it was the land of Rice,wheat,meat,poultries,milk,etc; It is indeed a crime to plant Soya and sugarcane (to produce fuel) in detriment to the local population.

      As you rightly said in one of your other posts, we are indeed at the tip of an iceberg. I think this year is going to be a very interesting one, because of the food crisis (among other things). I wonder how the Monsoon in S.Asia is going to be in 2008.If it fails, we are in a big trouble.

    • jon

      Joao,

      On another note, everything seems to be interconnected and caught up in a cycle of cause and effect. As we read in the Time article, US farmers are abandoning soya for corn as they are being encouraged through government subsidies to do so (corn-based ethanol). There is a drop, arguably small, in soya supply and prices jump for this commodity. Farmers in Brazil, Argentina and others fill in this void and clear or alter land for soya production resulting in environmental degradation of some form or another. I see Argentina has been engulfed in smoke from farmers clearing land for soya.We soon see mono-agriculture on the rise. I think we can connect the dots and see everything is connected in some form or another to these food shortages however how noble the causes are on the side

    • João da Silva

      Jon
      [quote]Was “that someone sitting in Switzerland” Ch.C.???[/quote]

      No, Jon. Ch.c is right now in Ghana hobnobbing with our Prez and “preaching” him personally. The latest gossip is that Ch.c and Jean Ziegler don’t get along well with each other 😉

    • jon

      Was “that someone sitting in Switzerland” Ch.C.???

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