EUROPE: In a Civil War over Subsidies

Few things cause tempers to flare up among governments on both sides of the English Channel more than the future of the European Union's massively expensive farm subsidies regime.

Glenys Kinnock Credit:

Q&A: Can Save the MDGs Yet

White banners were draped across public buildings in much of Europe during 2005 as an unlikely coalition of celebrities, church groups and trade unionists took part in the Make Poverty History campaign. The Group of Eight (G8) top industrialised countries and the European Union responded by promising to double their aid to Africa by 2010 at a summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.

EUROPE: Subsidies Fail the Poor Among the Rich

Romanian farmers have started receiving the first payments under the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). But the poorest farmers might have to wait years to see some benefits.

BRAZIL: Sugarcane Alcohol Tarnished by U.S. Maize Ethanol

Recent efforts by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to clearly mark the difference between Brazilian ethanol and the agrofuels produced by the United States are an admission that signing an agreement with Washington to promote a global bioethanol market was a serious political mistake, say analysts.

LATIN AMERICA: Food Summit Declares Regional Emergency

The presidential summit on "Food for Life", held in Nicaragua, has ended with 16 Latin American countries agreeing to produce more food and sell it at low prices through strategic alliances, amid criticisms of free markets and capitalism.

EUROPE: Warnings Against Biofuels Get Louder

European efforts to promote biofuels should be rethought because of the contribution they have made to rising food prices, according to Jeffrey Sachs, a top economic advisor to the United Nations.

RIGHTS: Native People Warn U.N. of Biofuels Disaster

Growing demand for biofuels by the world's rich nations is propelling attacks on indigenous people and destroying their lands and forests, according to native leaders attending a three-week international meeting here.

ECONOMY: IMF Reforms Itself, A Little

The poor have been given a little more say in the IMF. It is still a small step, but the biggest such in the last 60 years.

One of Kabul&#39s many bazaars in the old quarter Credit: Ann Ninan

AFGHANISTAN: Global Emergency Triggers Food Riots

In the teeming, dense flour bazaars of Kabul, it's hard not to miss the anger.

EUROPE: Subsidies Feeding Food Scarcity

European subsidies for agriculture are contributing to rapidly rising food prices and the destruction of small-scale farming in the South, experts say.

CHINA: High on Ethanol Despite Rising Food Prices

Studies debunking the environmental benefits of ethanol have made little impression in this country, which is betting on bio-fuels as the green answer to coal and oil to help clear its increasingly smog-filled skies.

 Credit: UN DPI Photo

AGRICULTURE: Brazil Shares Technology with Africa

The people of Brazil have reason to believe that they are making a real contribution to reducing hunger and environmental threats in the world by developing agricultural technology that has begun to be shared with poorer countries.

ENVIRONMENT: But What Is Good About Biofuels?

The German government decision two weeks back against increased use of biofuels was based on technical reasons - more than three millions vehicles cannot burn biofuels without risking engine breakdown.

LATIN AMERICA: Food or Fuel – That Is the Burning Question

The difficult balancing act between fighting hunger, producing biofuels and defending the environment is at the centre of the debate at the 30th Regional Conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in the Brazilian capital.

Soybean field near Eldorado in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Credit: Gerson Sobreira

BRAZIL: Clean Gasoline Fuels Soybean Production

The Brazilian government has decided to move up the deadlines for obligatory addition of biofuels to gasoline and diesel fuel, a measure that will boost the production of soybeans, the oilseed crop with the lowest yield and that causes the most environmental damage.

TRADE-AFRICA: France to Push For Extension of EU Farm Subsidies

France is expected to push for the further entrenchment of trade-distorting agricultural subsidies when it ascends to the presidency of the European Union (EU) on July 1 this year.

Jyoti holds up the picture of her husband Santosh Deshmukh, one of three indebted Deshmukh men who committed suicide  Credit: Jaideep Hardikar/IPS

DEVELOPMENT-INDIA: Cotton Farmers in Distress – Relief Given Elsewhere

On Mar. 4, barely four days after Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced a mammoth loan waiver for farmers, 55-year-old Dattu Chaudhary, who owned 3 hectares (ha) of land committed suicide in Nara village in Maharashtra state.

Sugarcane farmers taking their yield to a cooperative sugar mill near Baramati, Pune district. Credit: Jaideep Hardikar/IPS

DEVELOPMENT-INDIA: Subsidies Cornered by Politically Powerful

An intensifying agrarian crisis claimed the life of at least one cotton farmer every day last year in Maharashtra, western India. But government subsidies were monopolised by the state’s powerful sugar lobby.

Nanda Bhandare (top, extreme right) took her children out of school after her cotton farmer husband committed suicide Credit: Jaideep Hardikar/IPS

DEVELOPMENT-INDIA: Two Villages, Two Very Different Stories

It is hard to find smiling farmers in Dorli, rural Vidarbha, a cotton growing belt in western India’s Maharashtra state.

CSE&#39s Anumita Roychowdhury Credit:

Q&A: Car-Centric Urban Growth Fuelled By Subsidies

Pollution and road congestion are at crisis proportions in India’s cities. Yet, the government encourages car-centric urban growth, subsidised by public largesse, says Anumita Roychowdhury of the non-governmental Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), which is leading a campaign for cleaner air in Delhi.

ENVIRONMENT: Galapagos Islands in Search of Clean Energy

Ecuador has taken the first step towards ending the oil dependence of its Galápagos Islands, in the eastern Pacific Ocean, with the official opening of a 10.8 million dollar wind energy facility on the island of San Cristóbal.

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