From Volume 36, Issue 46 of EIR Online, Published Nov. 27, 2009

Global Economic News

Speculators Drool as Rice Crisis Looms

Nov. 17 (EIRNS)—With a "failed" (i.e., delayed) monsoon in India, causing drought in some regions, and devastating typhoons in the Philippines, the fact that global rice production has stagnated for three years running, is about to translate into famine. Duncan Macintosh, development director for the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, said that "prices are at a nine-month high and seem to be climbing towards the levels of last year's rice crisis," when world food trade nearly collapsed.

This is not a "natural crisis," but genocide. IRRI director Dr. Robert Ziegler pointed out that "inside a grain of rice is the genetic potential to develop higher yields; and the capacity to grow rice in harsh conditions," and that a new Green Revolution, with the necessary funding and commitment, could easily double the productivity of rice, to sustain the one-half of the world population which depends on rice.

However, such funding and commitment are not forthcoming. "Prices won't peak until March," said Rex Estoperez, a spokesman for the National Food Authority of the Philippines, the biggest importer in the world. The Philippines is increasing its imports by 30%, to 1.45 million tons, due to the typhoons which flooded Manila and destroyed 1.3 million tons of paddy rice.

India has become a net importer for the first time in two decades, and may surpass the Philippines by importing 3 million tons, after the worst monsoon season since 1972.

This is a disaster that was created systematically by the world food cartels and the international financial institutions. The IRRI reports that the average annual yield growth slowed to 1.4% from 1990 to 2005, down from 2.14% during the previous two decades. This is due to the failure of necessary research funding, and to IMF and WHO demands that nations give up food self-sufficiency in favor of "globalization," buying food on the world markets, or be cut off from international credits.

Half of Israelis Fear Netanyahu Will Lead Them into Poverty

Nov. 17 (EIRNS)—A poll of 500 Israelis revealed that 50% are concerned that the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will force them into poverty, while only 25% express a sense of security about their economic situation, according to today's Ha'aretz. Some 77% agreed that the blame for poverty cannot be placed exclusively on the poor, and that government has a responsibility to help the poor escape the cycle of poverty. The poll was conducted by the Forum To Mark International Day for Eradication of Poverty.

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