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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dying in abundance – Part 2

(Showing Indian farmers)
India is the second major producer of rice in the world, after China. India is also the 3rd biggest wheat producer. In 2008 it set a new record, with a production of 227 million tons.
You would expect India to have low rates of hunger and malnutrition. But the most of the planet’s starving people live there, actually. Over 200 millions. And to complete this paradox: most of them are farmers.
(Vandana Shiva – Pro-farmers activist)
“Farmers who are growing our food, are going hungry.  Because them grain is being sold to pay back the depts for chemicals and seeds.  This “negative agriculture” as I call it - is the reason for hunger in the world today.”
(showing people walking with barrels on their heads. In Madhya Pradesh state Thyeora commynity)
The Madhya Pradesh state has the highest numbers of starving children, and therefore, the highest rate of child mortality in the country. The situation is as much critical as it is in Ethiopia, Africa.

(you may listen to the next part starting around 2:50 yourself, because some parts are inaudible for me)
“46 % of the children are malnourished in India, this has been reported by the national family health service. (inaudible) it will be 60 % children, they convert them into numbers about 6 million children. They are moderately malnourished.
So these children have more probability of dying then normal children. And 50 % of the under 5 mortality rate is due to malnutrition.
when the food prices has doubled , the quantity which they purchased (inaudible) has also reduced (inaudible).
Dr. Vandana Agarwal works for UNICEF. The organization arranges feeding centers in towns and villages, in collaboration with the government. There are colunteers monitoring the weight and health of the children. They have been assigned with feeding the children, because their families are very poor and they can’t afford for that.
“Now this is a typical case of severely malnourished children. This is her mother Rita, she works and in the morning she left around 8 o’clock and she’ll be back around 7 o’clock. “ Then they show how much the baby got to  eat. Half inch of something in the morning.  A very inadequate quantity of food for a 19 months old baby. They then show the thin body of the baby, and her high respiration rate. Measuring her arm , which indicates she has a severely malnourished diet, and that she needs special care, a good therapeutic diet and medical treatment.

(Madhya Pradesh, Baroda Community)
“We eat pies. Where can we find rice? We once needed 3-4 rupees for 5 kilos of flour. Now it costs 50-60 rupees. How will the people buy it? If only one in the family has a job, what can we buy? Shall we get a loan?
Shall we buy vegetables or wheat? Doctors need money too. The mill needs money too. Nothing can be done with 5 kilos of flour. What to buy with a day’s wage?
We, the poor people, have big troubles. Too much stress. People who have 1-2 children can’t feed them, they don’t get enough food. It is very bad. The poor cant feed himself, pay the doctor or feed the kids.”
“I get 60 rupees (1euro) a day. My daily expenses are 40-45 rupess. The prices at the market are very high. Oil costs 80 rupees per kilo. We hardly can afford it. 5 kilos wheat cost 60 rupees. Much higher than one year ago. If one of us works and we eat twice a day we run out of money. We eat less, so that we don’t deprive the children from food.”

The inhabitants depend on the state. In every city small stores run by the state provide food at low prices.

“We can get 35 kilos of good with 90 rupees. That’s how we make it. We take our papers and we go to the store. They give us what the analogous quantity.”
This is the biggest food aid program across the world.
(man explaining about it, hear for yourself lots of things inaudible for me 08:30)
But in 1997 India was forced to reform the public distribution system, according to the directions of the world bank and the world trade organization. Help to the masses was anti-competitive and against the market. The aid was reduced.
“We had a universal food distribution system , the PDS, the world bank forced us to dismantle it . As long as that system was in place, the farmers had a guaranteed market . Everyone had a guarantee to affordable food , with a piece of paper, a ration card, which was India’s identity card. With that ration card you could walk to your corner shop and get the 1 or 2 kilo’s of affordable food. The world bank dismantled that so that the corporations would get the market – that is why more people are hungry today then 15 years ago. That is why 70 % of India’s children are malnourished while India has a (inaudible) rate of 90 % .”
At the same time, the WTO urged India to dismiss all the limitations imposed on agricultural imports. That wounded badly the agricultural Indian economy.

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