According to the radio and TV news today (1 June 2011) Oxfam has warned that the cost of basic foods such as maize will double in 20 years. Barbara Stocking, Oxfam’s Chief Executive, says that “We are sleepwalking ourselves into ecological disaster.”
The following comment is by HIPPO (Help International Plant Protein Organisation), a British vegetarian charity supporting poor communities throughout Africa.
“The only thing we disagree with is her time-scale. We know that in Kenya the price of maize has increased by more than 50% since we left at the end of March – two months, never mind two decades. At that time we were paying 2200 Kenyan shillings (about £17) per 90-kilo bag. Now it is 3500 shillings (about £27) and increasing. Beans cost twice as much. Admittedly some of the present increases are due to speculation on the food market but will they come down again? And they come on the top of what had already been a 50% increase in the previous year. Four years ago we could buy maize for less than 1000/- a bag. Imagine how this affects the poor, who already have to spend all the money they have on food. Now they simply haven’t got the money to be able to eat. The rising cost also makes it increasingly difficult for charities like HIPPO to continue to help them.
“Oxfam cites a number of reasons for the impending disaster. The one that they consistently fail to address is the most serious one of all, which is simply that more and more meat is being eaten in the world by more and more people and farm livestock consume about 10 times more food than they produce.
“In fact farm animals should not be considered as food-producers at all since they are overwhelmingly net food consumers.
“The world’s people are eating more animal-based foods every year whilst the world’s population is growing rapidly. Meanwhile the remaining wild areas of the world are rapidly being destroyed to feed farm animals, e.g. the vast clearance of the Amazon rainforest to grow soya for feeding to the cattle, pigs and poultry of Europe, leading to changes in the world climate, especially in the patterns of rainfall. Trees are the ‘pumps’ that recycle water back into the atmosphere.
“HIPPO has been saying this since its foundation in 1999 and some others have been saying it for even longer. But even taken all together we are but a David to the Goliath of the worldwide meat and dairy industry. That is why we are sending you this email, asking you to take its message to heart and to pass it on, please.
“The world as a whole needs to consume less meat. As individuals our best contribution is to eat none at all. We can use the money we save to help the poor!”
Since 1984 Veggies has been pleased to support the work of Vegfam in ‘feeding the the hungry without exploiting animals’.
The fragile environment cannot support two populations – humans and their food animals. Vegfam raises funds to eliminate hunger, thirst, malnutrition, and starvation, helping people in over 40 countries, by financing sustainable, self-supporting plant food projects, fruit and nut tree planting, irrigation and water wells.
We have sponsored and distributed Vegfam fliers and raised funds through a premium on the sales of bottled water and donations from our ‘samosas for social change‘ project.
You can help us to help Vegfam by using the Everyclick search facility, to raise funds for Vegfam whilst surfing the web.
Meanwhile, for more information on the work of HIPPO (in comparison to that of Oxfam) see our article Don’t Send A Cow – Plant a Tree!