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Editorial THE statement made by the head of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) last week that the global food crisis could lead to civil war in some countries and requires a complete revamping of the international food system is both timely and welcome.

Senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu hinted on Saturday that if the NDA was voted to power in the next general election, it would seriously consider amending the Constitution to include the "right to food" as a fundamental right of every citizen. The occasion was the launch of the state government's "Mukhya Mantri Annapurna Yojana" under which families holding BPL ration cards would be given wheat and rice at Rs 3 and Rs 4.50 per kg, respectively.

A food security system based on indigenous produce can alone combat the rising prices in India, reports Vibha Sharma TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu weighs vegetables with a balance during a dharna against price rise jointly organised by the TDP, CPI, CP(M) and SP. TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu weighs vegetables with a balance during a dharna against price rise jointly organised by the TDP, CPI, CP(M) and SP.

Rising food prices have developed into a global crisis, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday. Concerns about food security mounted this week as rice prices hit records in Asia and the United States warned that staples for the world's hungry were getting much more expensive. "This steeply rising price of food has developed into a real global crisis,' Ban told journalists in Vienna. Anger over high food and fuel costs in recent months has sparked protests in several countries.

Global food prices have witnessed an unprecedented surge in recent months. The increase in prices, which initially started with corn and wheat, has now engulfed all cereals, and vegetable oils, meat, milk and most fruits and vegetables. The food price index (base 2005=100) of the International Monetary Fund, which covers a large number of food items, reached 170 in March 2008; the highest value of the index in the past quarter century was 143 in November 1980. (Editorial) April 26-May 2, 2008

While customers at restaurants in New York City will soon be able to count the calories of their meals in an attempt to curb the obesity epidemic, people in New Delhi are currently counting their grains of rice. From Bolivia to Yemen, people around the world are taking to the streets in protest at the spiralling increases in food prices. Politicians have been sacked, protesters have died, and some governments are imposing extreme measures to ration food and control their hungry populations. (Editorial)

Nobel laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus has said the international community should be united to face global food crisis, otherwise the development targets of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) would be hampered severely. "Due to abnormal price hike of oil an unstable situation has occurred across the world. The situation has aggravated further due to global food crisis, climate change and fall of the Dollar. If the international community does not unite to face the problem then the MDG would be hampered,' he said.

Washington: Some stores have begun rationing rice, the price of wheat flour has gone through the roof, there's no butter on store shelves, and petrol at the pump is at an all-time high. The usual developing country woes from Asia, Africa and Latin America? Try again. These are stories from the US and Japan, the world's most advanced nations that stand for prosperity and plenitude. Astonishing accounts of panic buying and rationing are surfacing from Tokyo to New York as world leaders are breaking out in cold sweat over tightening food supply chain.

The current food crisis is nature's way of cocking a snook at man's pompousness. With all the tall claims of progress in science, we are yet to find a permanent solution for the most basic of needs i.e., food. Food riots have been reported from a number of countries including Bangladesh, Egypt, Haiti and the Philippines. Elsewhere the prices of edible commodities are hitting the roof.

Precious commodity: Residents with subsidised rice in Manila recently. President Gloria Arroyo has declared war on hoarders and is using the military to move supplies of subsidised rice. The global food crisis reached the U.S. on Wednesday as big retailers began rationing sales of rice in response to bulk purchases by customers alarmed by rocketing prices of staple foods.

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