81. IS FAMINE IN NIGER THE BEGINNING OF THE DIEOFF?
How do you account for the (literally) millions of people currently starving to death in places like Niger, because they can no longer afford to buy food? As oil has rocketed to it current price, the cost of food has also risen, and people that could barely afford to eat before cannot afford to eat now.ANSWER: No. Let's recall what the die-off theory says. It states that human beings have overshot the carrying capacity of the earth, and 4 or 5 billion people will have to die because the earth is no longer capable of producing enough food to feed them. This is clearly not the case with regard to Niger.
Isn't this relationship between rising oil prices and rising food prices, which would be causing a much larger dieoff then what we are seeing if it weren't for UN relief, strong evidence supporting dieoff theory?
As of today, the WFP (World Food Program) of the United Nations has received US$28 million of its US$57.6 million appeal for Niger. Donors include:
Canada - US$3.2 millionCompare the above with the US$12.6 billion which the US alone spent on dog and cat food in 2003Source.
UK - US$2.7 million
United States - US$2.6 million
Netherlands - US$2.5 million
Denmark - US$2.4 million
Venezuela - US$1.5 million
Australia - US$1.5 million
Germany - US$1.5 million
Belgium - US$1.2 million
Luxembourg - US$1.2 million
Italy - US$1.2 million
Ireland - US$1.2 million
EuropeAid - US$1.2 million
Turkey - US$600,000
African Development Bank - US$500,000
Norway - US$306,000
New Zealand - US$349,650
Switzerland - US$39,062
Private - US$334,000. Source
Japan throws out enough food to feed 50 million people (=5 entire nations the size of Niger) from its convenience stores alone:
The worst offenders are perhaps Japan's legion of convenience stores, where many youngsters and singles do their food shopping. Around ¥10,000 to ¥15,000 worth of lunch boxes are thrown away daily from each shop, that is if the managers can’t find homeless people to give them away to. Multiplied by 40,823 konbini in Japan, that brings the waste, in retail terms, to a staggering ¥220bn (=about US$2 billion) per year.Clearly the earth produces enough food to feed the people of Niger, and thus the deaths in Niger cannot be attributed to die-off.
This level of profligacy is highlighted by a report in the Japanese weekly magazine Shukan. Its economics reporter recently pointed out that the volume of food discarded by convenience stores and supermarkets because they were past their sell by dates – an estimated 6 million tons per year – is equivalent to roughly 80% of the total volume of food assistance currently being supplied to developing countries, or enough to feed 50 million people for a year. Transposing calories into monetary values, Japan's food losses are roughly equal to the total annual output of its agricultural and fishery industries.Source
Furthermore, the rise in food prices in Niger had no relationship whatsoever to the rising price of crude oil. The price rise was caused by: poor rains, massive crop devastation by locusts, and economic factors relating to food imports/exports with Niger's neighbors (see Source).
Also, in the interests of accuracy, millions of people didn't die during the recent events in Niger; about 3 million people were exposed to varying levels of malnutrition and food insecurity, and the number of deaths ranged in the tens of thousands, not millions.