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G8 Using Food Crisis To Push Same Failed Policies

[SEE ALSO: G8 LEADERS SUMMIT 2008 - SCOOP FULL COVERAGE]

G8 using food crisis to push same failed policies down the throats of hungry people, says Actionaid; ActionAid responds to the G8 summit statement on food

Hakkiado July 07 - Responding to the G8 summit statement on food security, ActionAid calls it outrageous that the G8 should use the food crisis to push more of the same failed policies down the throats of hungry people.

Food Aid

"On food aid - 'promote local purchase of food aid' rings hollow when the US, the biggest provider of food aid has just refused to take that logical step in the recently passed Farm Bill," said Rashed Al-Mahmood Titumir, Actionaid's policy head for Asia.

He said the poor farmers and especially women will be worse off because of these methods, which require heavy inputs of water, fertiliser, credit - exactly the resources to which women have least access.

Biofuels

"Biofuel is a new poison that would steel food and lives of the poor. We demand that G8 should have a moratorium on the diversion of arable land into biofuel mono cropping,' said John Samuel, Actionaid's International Director.

'They should immediately stop subsidies for corn ethanol production and instead should increase research, investment and incentives to scale up alternative renewable energy sources. If G8 leaders do not act now, their hands will smell of the blood of millions of poor people'.

Climate change

"The G8 are blatantly dodging their responsibilities," said ActionAid policy officer Tom Sharman.

"When they say that things should be done by the major economies, they are passing the buck to China and India. They are not accepting that climate change is overwhelmingly a problem that they themselves have caused."

Africa

On the G8's Africa offer, Carol Kayira, food security specialist with ActionAid Malawi, said: "There is no attempt to rise to the challenges currently facing Africa. Though the need for more investment in agriculture is recognised, there is no sign of fresh thinking in the face of the worst food crisis for years."

The biggest single aid pledge in the document is the promise of US$60bn for health over five years. This repeats a pledge made at last year's summit in Germany, but ActionAid is concerned that now the money is to be spread more thinly, over a wider range of diseases.

The proposals for strengthening health services are also seen by ActionAid as flawed, unless more is done to stem the exodus of skilled staff from African countries. Carole Kayira commented:

"Training more health workers is pointless if the brain drain continues. There are more Malawian doctors in the city of Manchester than in the whole of Malawi."

ActionAid welcomes the commitment to reverse the decline in aid to agriculture but the G8 need to provide specific targets and timelines. The UN estimates that $20-$30bn per year is needed to revive developing countries' agriculture. The G8 needs to commit to its fair share of that investment.

ENDS

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