Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hearing on global food crisis today in Washington

A hearing on food prices around the world is taking place on Capitol Hill today. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Senator John Kerry will conduct the hearing.

Last year, food prices generally soared up over 60 percent, pushing millions of people into hunger. Although the prices have since recovered from these record highs, they are still higher than in previous years.

From the Political Intelligence blog at the Boston Globe, Foon Rhee details the hearing.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, under the gavel of chairman John F. Kerry, is holding a hearing today on what the United States can do to help alleviate the global food crisis.

“We’re faced with two disasters—soaring food prices leaving millions hungry every year and an ailing economy. The challenges are overwhelming, but we have to do much more than send emergency food aid to countries facing scarcity,” Kerry said in a statement.

“We live in a world where nearly one billion people suffer from chronic food insecurity,” Senator Richard Lugar, the panel's ranking Republican, added,. “Hungry people are desperate people, and desperation often sows the seeds of conflict and extremism."

He is a cosponsor of a bill designed to improve US and global efforts to increase crop yields, create rural economic opportunities, broaden trade relations, and improve scientific cooperation.

The scheduled witnesses are: Daniel R. Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture during the Clinton administration; Catherine Bertini, former executive director of the World Food Program; David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World; Robert Paarlberg, professor of political science at Wellesley College; Edwin C. Price, associate vice chancellor and director of Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture; and Gebisa Ejeta, professor of agronomy at Purdue University.

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