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Kyoko Altman

Hong Kong, China

Kyoko Altman has worked as a correspondent and anchor for CNN and CNBC, and as a news-magazine reporter for Japan's top-ranked news program 'News Station' on TV Asahi. She has covered more than twenty countries. Close.

Kyoko Altman

Hong Kong, China

Kyoko Altman has worked as a correspondent and anchor for CNN and CNBC, and as a news-magazine reporter for Japan's top-ranked news program 'News Station' on TV Asahi. more »

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Panic and Asia's Rice Crisis

The immediate crisis could be eased if governments stopped hoarding and lifted their export restrictions. In other words, faith in the market needs to be restored.

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All Comments (9)

Bored Guy:

JW, let's also look not just at Third World countries while we are on the subject of overpopulation, and take into account teen pregnancy in the U.S. as well. Kinda easy to throw rocks in a glass house, that is, unless its your own. Thanks for oversimplifying the issue though, I was not understanding it until you posted the solution.



A retrospect of last the ninety (90) years in the ones of the one dimension of the advantages that the capitalist system left to provide to the world, on the contrary of the clamorous disparity that created between rich and poor, with the increase of the concentration of wealth.

Little more than 50% of the world-wide wealth are being usufructed for less than 3% of the universal population. A billion of people is almost living in state of subnutrição and malnutrition. The feeding always was relegated to a secondary plan, while world-wide the financial speculation did not leave to extend its jointed powers, in the oil, the Stock exchange and the Comodities, through the Tradings that more than control 80% of the Warehouses and Silos, in Brazil. E the world-wide governing still continue passive and tolerant with as many irregularities that they directly affect the daily life of billions of citizens. The speculators, unquestionably, are great responsible for the generation and the management of the crisis that some poor countries and in development are facing desumanamente.

In 1918, Vladimir Lênin, ahead of the Petrograd Soviet, worried about the abusive financial speculation, as she is occurring today, mainly with foods, suggested its abates impious, as she was facing herself and abating terrorist in a war field.

In recent interview, the president of Germany and former-president of the FMI, Kohler, charges of the agency that demands of the World-wide Central bankings, a more rigid regulation for financial the speculative system, as she charged Lênin has 90 years behind.

“For Kohler,” the wild search for profits, became the financial market in a monster that it quickly needs to be rank in the coleira'. Little capital and easy profits, without measuring consequences, for being if putting into motion freely, privatizing profits and socializing damages, and with immunity to any type of fiscalization, regulation or efficient control of the State, the monster comes growing and devorando the economy and the finances of the countries weakkest and becoming the stronger forts each time. Alert of the German president the sample that really is in the alias process of the governing to organize the Cartel that widely defends the primary interests of more than six (6) billion human beings. E the feeding is the main item. As it is is that the world cannot be.

We are seeing that until the proper general secretary of the OPEP, in well recent declaration, it condemned the speculators for the unjustifiable increases in the prices of the Oil. Germany, exporting greater and one of the five bigger world-wide economies, also have a great abyss between rich and poor and more than 20% of its population alone escape of the poverty because it receives I assist of the State.

Countries as Brazil, that has the biggest agricultável area of the world and responsibility with 184 million people, could never leave to lack, in abundance, the basic Rice and Beans and other foods in the table of the Brazilians. E we are seeing that on behalf of these two products, that can quickly be produced in entire Brazil, the Brazilian Central Bank justified the increase of half porcentual point (0.5%) in the Selic tax, causing, in nominal values, a cost the greater of more than R$ (six billion) in the consolidated debt of the National Treasure.

With an immediate availability of appropriate areas for the plantation of the rice, the beans and other agricultural products, the Government never will decide the problem of the production of foods and other goods, if to continue adopting the politics of raised interests to contain the access to the consumption of a population that in its majority already is poor. The United States, countries of the European Union and Asia, on behalf of the world-wide crisis, are paying to never superior agios 1% for the clod roller of its debts and here, without crisis, the agio that we pay is of 7%. Statistical data of the Brazilian economy in show them clearly that in last the 30 years, the Brazilian government used the primary surplus of many billions of Reals, generated with the sacrifice and sweat of millions of Brazilians, to feed world-wide the financial speculation, in detriment of the production, the job and the income.

With all the billions of Reals of primary surplus, with the increase of the US$ exportations 73 billion in 2003 for US$ 160 billion in 2007, the Movable debt of Brazil passed of US$ 734 billion, in 2003 for more than R$ 1,200. trillion in 2007. Soon, the prescription of the highest interests to contain the inflation, stimulates the speculation, it sacrifices the production and it comes benefiting the concentration of wealth and becoming the poor persons poor and the IPEA it can and it must show this reality in last the 30 years. We are seeing the growth of the indebtedness of the Nation and that it is not reflecting directly or indirectly benefits in more roads, hidrovias, more railroads, ports, urban collective transports of quality and a infinity of other services, as education, health and basic sanitation and job for the young.

Soon, before if divulging the importance of the creation of a Deep Sovereign, to guarantee job, income and consumption in other countries, we must think seriously about amortizing and reducing the financial incubencies on our debt, that must pass of US$ 180 billion Reals, to the year, coming back part of these resources toward the financing of the industry, the production of the Rice, the Beans and too much products that never must lack in the table of all the Brazilians. After all, Brazil, of continental dimension, not yet has alimentary sovereignty much less, resources sobrando to apply in a Deep Sovereign.

Surya B Prasai, maryland, USA email: :

I agree with Kyoko that the price rise in rice supplies is due to a number of complex interacting problems including the environemnt. But she has failed to include the global population rise which stands at 6.9 billion people. Countries such as India, Thailand,Vietnam and the Philippines are talking about setting up a rice cartel against the OPEC oil cartel. If we are going to have cartels, I wonder how we could benefit from rising food prices? What will the poor people without money and living below US$1 day eat in the developing countries? I think countries should set self-limits in stocking up grain and rice supplies, which could ease prices. Otherwise, why should there be a sudden price rise? It is nothing but organized cartel politics in the end! How about asking UN agencies such as UNFPA to work more collaboratively with the World Food Programme and FAO to tone down the global baby production rate? Does it make any sense? it sure does to me!

Robert James:

Two years ago I went to the Philippines on a holiday. One lunchtime our driver took my family and friends and I to a seafood restaurant.

Afterwards we waited for the driver ina fishing village. There I encountered very hungry kids and a little girl, Annabelle, aged 3. She was very small and had the worst hare lip that I had seen. I walked away and cried. Eventually, my wife, mother-in-law and I arranged for that little girl to have an operation with Korean surgeons who gave their services freely every year to poor Filipinos. Next year the surgeons will carry out a second operation.

In a few weeks, we are having 30 sacks of rice delivered to this village because there are 13-18 very poor families who cannot afford to buy rice. Some of the poor are four young children who fend for themselves because thier parents died. Others are elderly people who cannot work. One family is the Brady Bunch with about 10 children.

Each sack of rice weighs 50 kilograms (about 120 pounds). The total cost to me is about $(Australian)1400. I will keep an eye on these people and it will give me much pleasure to know that I am helping them on their way. You can also do the same to poor people in another village. They exist in all parts of this beautiful world.

We contacted the local priest and he will distribute the rice for us. Dpoing something positive to alleviate suffering is a wonderful thing for you to try. It won't hurt you and it will help them. Please give it a go. Ask your friends to help you find a village and find a rice supplier and pay the bills.


i think its wrong to say governments stopped hoarding and lifted their export restrictions,this means exporting governments will make their people hungry and this in turn will spark off strikes withiin different countris which is likely to attract uneccessary attention and drive more countries into panic


According to Oxfam and a former World Bank analyst on McNeil hour on PBS, the food crisis is a systemic crisis of distribution and not just mishandling of production. The global food market is unreliable because this problem is now systemic. After 7 years consecutively of shortfalls in stocks below the 60 day mark, this matter is a major crisis as a result of modern globalization

Robert Lee Hotchkiss, Jr.:

Free markets cause famines as well. There has been much talk about the deaths caused in China and Russia by collectivization. But, Ireland continued exporting food throughout the famine.

There will be free market famines certainly will sweep through Africa. Combined with Aids and drought and proxy wars fought between China and the US for natural resources it is going to be a bad century for Africa.

But free market famines are likely in China as well. These may even surpass the famines during Mao's collectivization efforts. The income disparity in China has only increased with economic expansion and will only get even worse with contraction.

Global warming likely will semipermanently flood Bangladesh undoubtedly resulting in massive refugees destabilizing the economies of China and India.

In other words I am buying extra 20 pound bags of rice myself. But the people who really need to will not unfortunately not be able to.

join the revolution at

Old Chinaman:

We used to hoard matches, salt, sugar in the 70s in China. But all the panic turned out to be short lived. We were also supposed to have died according to some economists/politicians/commentators/journos.
I am not afraid of dying anymore.


I'd like to see President McCain make world wide food distribution issues an important policy area of his presidency. Scrapping the biofuels scam would be a good place to start. Investing in nuclear energy would be also be a wise choice - nobody eats uranium.

Hunger, disease, and political violence are the biggest threats to the world's poor. President Bush has at least tackled disease (effectively)and political violence (in his own special way), but the biofuels thing has been a flop.

Maybe he figured that if he gave the Greens what they wanted, then the predictable effects of their policies would destroy their credibility and political muscle. Stranger things have happened. I can just see it now, the president meeting with his advisors, "Gonna give 'em some rope, let 'em hang 'emselves, spare the rest of us the trouble. Karl, make sure they take full credit and don't give me any. Don't worry about the press, they'll play along. Got some rope for them too. Plenty left."

And umm, wow, Kyoko is indeed way cute. And smart. I need to start watching TV again. I wonder what channel CNN is on.

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