Endangered Farms: World hunger hits 1 billion. Yet, Fresno, California farmers are denied water in order to preserve the rights of a small endangered fish. Their farms are dying.
At least 45,000 jobs have been lost in the area, a pro-Democrat community that has been ignored by the Administration. Few seem to care about their pleas – let alone they food they once produced.
According to the BBC, “One billion people throughout the world suffer from hunger, a figure which has increased by 100 million because of the global financial crisis, says the UN. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said the figure was a record high. Persistently high food prices have also contributed to the hunger crisis. The director general of the FAO said the level of hunger, one-sixth of the world’s population, posed a “serious risk” to world peace and security.
“The UN said almost all of the world’s undernourished live in developing countries, with the most, some 642 million people, living in the Asia-Pacific region. In sub-Saharan Africa, the next worst-hit region, the figure stands at 265 million. Just 15 million people are left hungry in the developed world.
“The silent hunger crisis – affecting one-sixth of all of humanity – poses a serious risk for world peace and security,” said Jacques Diouf.”
UK helping farmers boost food production.
“The UK’s international development ministry (Dfid) said the figures were ‘a scandal’ and said it was helping some of the poorest farmers in the world to boost the amount of food they produce. ‘In the last year we have pledged more than £900 million to lift millions out of hunger to help farmers boost agriculture production,” a Dfid spokesman said.’
“We urgently need to forge a broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger in the world and to take the necessary actions.”
Poor consumers spend up to 60 % of their incomes on staple foods, and food costs in developing countries were approximately 24% higher in real terms by the end of 2008 compared to 2006. Yet, the US is destroying California farms to save the delta smelt – a little fish protected by the Endangered Species Act. Here’s the “backstory.”
Judge Cuts Water to California Farmers to Save Endangered Fish – Reported by ABC NewsBusters | March 31, 2009 | Brad Wilmouth
Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 3:15:18 PM by Zakeet
“On the March 28 World News Saturday, ABC gave rare attention to the plight of drought-stricken farmers in California who have been denied access to a major water supply by a judge citing the Endangered Species Act to protect a type of fish. During a story recounting the unusual level of problems facing these farmers – a recession coinciding with drought – correspondent Lisa Fletcher informed viewers: “And for the first time ever, farmers may be completely cut off from one of their sources of water. Farmers don’t have access to this water that runs right through the center of their farmland. It is being allocated to the delta smelt, a little fish protected by the Endangered Species Act. Conservationists say the smelt are dying in the irrigation pumps, so a judge ruled they must be shut off for much of the growing season.”
Fletcher then told of an almond farmer who is now forced to spend $600,000 digging his own well. Fletcher: “That hits almond farmers, like Shawn Coburn, particularly hard. Ninety percent of the nation’s almonds come from this valley, and almond trees need a lot of water. … So Coburn is spending $600,000 to dig a new well, and he hopes to buy himself some time.”
The report ended with a soundbite of Firebaugh, California, city manager Jose Ramirez pleading for more water: “All our people want here is a job. That’s all we want. You let the water flow, food will grow, and jobs will flow after that, and we’re in business.”
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the March 28 World News Saturday on ABC:
DAN HARRIS: In California, the problem is not too much wet weather, but not enough of it. A drought combined with the bad economy have delivered a one-two punch to the Central Valley, where much of the nation’s food is grown. 100,000 acres went unplanted last year, and this year, it could be 750,000 acres. Economists say that will mean $1.5 billion in lost income and the elimination of 40,000 jobs. Lisa Fletcher is in California tonight.
LISA FLETCHER: In just a glance, you know something is very wrong.
PETE RAMIREZ, CROP DUSTER: It’s like a desert. A couple of years ago, it was all farmland and everybody had a job.
THEDA LAWRENCE, MENDOTA: What are the people gonna do? How are they gonna eat whenever there’s no farming?
FLETCHER: A quarter of the nation’s fruits and vegetables are grown here in California’s Central Valley. But the farmers here have been hit with two crises at the same time. They’re in their third year of severe drought. And now, they must also cope with the worst recession in a generation. That has driven unemployment to staggering levels – 35 percent in some places, numbers that recall the Great Depression. And for the first time ever, farmers may be completely cut off from one of their sources of water. Farmers don’t have access to this water that runs right through the center of their farmland. It is being allocated to the delta smelt, a little fish protected by the Endangered Species Act. Conservationists say the smelt are dying in the irrigation pumps, so a judge ruled they must be shut off for much of the growing season. That hits almond farmers, like Shawn Coburn, particularly hard. Ninety percent of the nation’s almonds come from this valley, and almond trees need a lot of water.
SHAWN COBURN, ALMOND FARMER: If you have a crop that needs water year in and year out, you, it either dies, or you try to find a way to keep it alive.
FLETCHER: So Coburn is spending $600,000 to dig a new well, and he hopes to buy himself some time.
JOSE RAMIREZ, CITY MANAGER FOR FIREBAUGH, CALIFORNIA: All our people want here is a job. That’s all we want. You let the water flow, food will grow, and jobs will flow after that, and we’re in business.
FLETCHER: Lisa Fletcher, ABC News, in California’s Central Valley.