Latin America's poorest seek food price respite

Farm ministers from some of Latin America's poorest countries met on Saturday to seek a regional solution to soaring food prices that have sparked violent protests in the Caribbean.

Latin America's poorest seek food price respite

Farm ministers from Central America, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela held talks in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua to boost corn, rice and bean production, as well as lifting output of the animal feed sorghum.

Central America hopes to spend about $630 million to increase the region's food output, Nicaraguan Agriculture Minister Ariel Bucardo said this week. The region is looking to Venezuela, with its huge oil wealth, for financial assistance.

Central America's presidents are due to hold a food crisis summit on May 7.

Millions of people in Central America and Haiti face severe food shortages as the price of basic staples like corn and beans rises to record levels. The United Nations says low-income, food-importing countries such as Honduras are particularly vulnerable to a global rise in food prices.

At least six people were killed earlier this month in Haiti during riots and clashes with security forces and demonstrators protesting rising food prices.

Haiti and Nicaragua are Latin America's poorest nations.

Increased food demand from rapidly developing countries such as China and India, the use of biofuels, high oil prices, global food stocks at 25-year lows and market speculation are all blamed for pushing prices of staples like wheat, maize and rice to record highs around the globe.


Last Mod: 27 Nisan 2008, 13:17
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