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Food Security & Agriculture

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Raj Patel - The Global Food Crisis
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A conversation with Raj Patel, author of "Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System", on the global food crisis, the breakout of food riots across many developing countries, and the long-term structural crisis in the international food system.

58 mins - Other Voices TV, May 2008

Raj Patel, former analyst for Food First, a leading food policy think tank, is a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley Center for African Studies. He has written for the Los Angeles Times and the Guardian, and though he has worked for the World Bank, WTO, and the UN, he’s also been tear-gassed on four continents protesting them.

Over the past few years the prices of wheat, corn, rice and other basic foodstuffs have doubled or tripled, with much of the increase taking place just in the last few months. High food prices dismay even relatively well-off Americans — but they’re truly devastating in poor countries, where food often accounts for more than half a family’s spending. There have already been food riots around the world. Food-supplying countries, from Ukraine to Argentina, have been limiting exports in an attempt to protect domestic consumers, leading to angry protests from farmers — and making things even worse in countries that need to import food. How did this happen? The answer is a combination of long-term trends, bad luck — and bad policy. [Paul Krugman, “Grains Gone Wild,” New York Times, 4/7/08]