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August 05, 2008

Cyber Seminar asks: Must some people starve to produce bio fuel for the West?

With soaring food prices world wide, poor segments of societies across Africa are finding it increasingly difficult to afford food for survival. Demand for bio fuel in western countries has lead to investment in land for bio fuel production by large companies across the continent.

Is bio fuel production in Africa an opportunity to combat hunger and starvation or is it taking land away from much needed food production to the detriment of the poor on the continent? Join in the Cyber Seminar and discuss the impact of bio fuel production on the Food Crisis in Africa.

The Cyber Seminar is a virtual seminar - a forum for participants all over the world to engage with each other and with panellists from academia, politics and civil society on issues of current interest to Africa.

For the upcoming session, the topic is the consequences and reasons for the mounting food crisis on the access to food for people in Sub Saharan Africa. Why is food becoming less accessible for the poorest segments of society? Why are African countries with considerable agricultural landmasses producing crops for export whilst importing expensive food?

Participate in the Cyber Seminar organized by the Norwegian Council for Africa on Thursday the 7th and engage with African Experts on the topic.

Bakari Sadid Nyari, Vice Chairman of Regional Advisory and Information Network Systems (RAINS) in Ghana and

Paul Mbole from NCA (The Norwegian Church Aid) and ZERO (Zero Emission Resource Organisation) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Place: World Wide Web
Date: August 7th
Time: 15.00 - 17.00 local time Norway (GMT + 1). You may log in and out of the debate as you wish.

The Norwegian Council for Africa works to promote economic, political and social justice in - and for - Africa. We seek to achieve this goal through the dissemination of accurate, fair and unbiased information. Vital to this endeavour is the promotion of African voices and sources of information.

The facts of the food crisis in numbers:

- High food prices entail a daily struggle for more than 2 billion people globally.
- An estimated 100 million people have fallen into poverty in the last 2 years.
- Poor families now spend up to 80% of their budget on food.
- 30 million people face hunger and even death by starvation in Sub Saharan Africa.
- 21 out of 36 countries in food security crisis are in Sub Saharan Africa.
- Sub Saharan Africa imports 45% of its wheat and 84% of its rice.
- Wheat prices are up 120%, rice prices are up 75%.
- An estimated 100 million tonnes of grain per year are being redirected from food to fuel globally.
- Filling a tank of an average car with bio fuel, amounts to the same amount of maize as an average African consumes in a year.

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