May 5, 2008

Helpless US balmes rising food and oil prices on India and China

With all the noise all over the world about rising food prices and crude oil prices world leading countries and leaders have started pointing their guns on one another in the blame game. Looks like they are no more able to keep silent after UN and world bank hold US and EU squarely responsible for the rising food prices [Read previous post in the blog].
US president and their admistration blamed India and China for rising food prices. Some of secretaries there after tried to portray the same thing in a positive manner. Read this coverage by an leading Indian newspaper where by it's being reported that US president feels rising affluence in India and China is leading to increased demand for food and this is prime reason for the sky rocketting world food prices. This statement is coming soon after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's controversial statement about apparent improvement in the diet of Indian and Chinese people. So looks like it's a researched report to the US administration by the federal agencies and watchdogs. They argue that Indian middle class population is more than entire US population. Though they admit that diverting agricultural resources towards biofuel has a part to play but that seems to having a minor impact on the world food prices.
I did not read sharp response from Chinese goverment to these comments but Indian political class cutting across party lines including those who are not in power. I don't understand the silence on this by Chinese authorities who are very fast to rebuke or issue statements otherwise. How ever Indian side has retorted back data supporting their claims in this blame game started by US president. Looks at this report again in the Indian media. Report notes that as per US Department of Agriculture for Yr 2007:-
Total foodgrain consumption — wheat, rice, and all coarse grains like rye, barley etc — by each person in the US is over five times that of an Indian., Twice that of EU and thrice that of China.
In order to do past comparison as US president is blaming increasing prosperity report quotes US per capita grain consumption was 946 kg per year in Yr 2003 which increased to 1046 kg last year in Yr 2007. In comparison comparison, India’s per capita grain consumption has remained static over the same period.

Milk consumption, in fluid form, is 78 kg per year for each person in the US, compared to 36 kg in India and 11 kg in China.
Vegetable oils consumption per person is 41 kg per year in US, while Indians are making do with just 11 kg per year. These are figures for liquid milk, not for cheese, butter, yogurt and milk powders which are consumed in huge proportion in the more advanced countries.
Beef consumption, for example, is 42.6 kg per person per year, compared to a mere 1.6 kg in India and 5.9 kg in China. In the US, 45.4 kg poultry meat is consumed every year by each person, compared to just 1.9 kg in India.
In the European Union, 42.6 kg pork is consumed per person every year, while in the US, 29.7 kgs are consumed. Pork is a staple for Chinese, and so over 35 kg are consumed per person per year. It's negligible in India.
Indian politicians were taking potshots at US president remarks with comments like "President Bush has never been known for his knowledge of economy.....". Looks like these were double meaning words commenting on US president for where he has taken a strong US economy to in current days. Good that US Ambassador David Mulford dismissed suggestions that the president had made any critical comments and was quoted saying "hostile political commentary is not productive". Read another report where he tried to cool tempratures in the political blame game.
Shortly after this US administration has again targetted developing world like India and China for significantly contributing to soaring world crude oil prices. It remains to be seen how Indian media/politicians reacts this time. Looks like this will not draw so much criticism as US was mostly silent during the anti US comments in Indian media about food price except for a comment by US ambassador.

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