With the increases in the global population and the increase need to feed this population, comes the great debate in how governments of the developed and developing world must tackle this important issue. In his article, The Politics of Hunger: How Illusion and Greed Fan the Food Crisis, Paul Collier examines the root causes of the food crisis and three ways (the slaying of giants) governments can easily come in finding a solution in the near-term, middle-term and long-term. The root causes, as outlined by Mr. Collier, are the increasing demand for food and increases in food prices. First, Collier states, “the first giant that must be slain is the middle to upper-class love affair with peasant agriculture.” In other words, increasing commercial agriculture and farming. Second, Collier states that the lifting of the genetically modified foods (GM crops) ban by Europe and Africa will allow a decrease in global food prices. Lastly, he states the United States must lift the subsidies on corn produced for biofuel and find an alternate biofuel source (like Brazilian sugar cane), thus decreasing the price on corn produced for food while increasing overall grain production.
The developed world’s love affair with local/organic farming (peasant farming as Collier describes it) has decreased food production worldwide because it does not use the land efficiently enough as with commercial agriculture companies. It also requires government subsidies that large commercial farming companies do not necessarily need. By increasing commercial farming, the world food supply will inevitably increase over a short period.
The second “giant” that needs to be laid to rest is the fear of agricultural technology and GM crops. Europe has banned the imports of GM crops from the United States and Africa has followed suit. Collier argues these GM crops are good for the food supply as they provide strength, endurance and pest-resistance properties to the seed/food supply. The ban, he exclaims, causes a decrease in grain production by 1-2 percent a year in Europe, causing Europe to lag behind and has cause Europe to lag behind in GM crop technology research as it is only funded through private means and not by the government.
The last “giant” to be...