India slams US for blaming it for global food crisis

June 12th, 2008 - 11:42 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) India Wednesday slammed the US for blaming it for the global food crisis, and said the major reason behind the sky-high food prices was the shift from “food to fuel”. Both the World Bank and the US said Tuesday the rise of food prices in south Asia was the result of export control measures of India. Earlier, the US said the increased food consumption by Indian middle classes had shot up global food prices.

“I cannot believe that better food consumption by India and China is responsible for global food crisis,” Finance Secretary D. Subba Rao said.

“Yes, it’s a fact that consumption pattern has improved and that is what it should be. It’s not the reason behind global food crisis,” Rao added.

India and China were never food importers and the increased food consumption in these two countries would not affect the global market, he explained at a function at the residence of British high commissioner to India here.

He said the “shift from food to fuel” was a big issue behind the crisis, and squarely blamed the US’ move to churn biofuel from food grains.

Taking a dig at the US, Rao said when “so much food insecurity is there”, some countries are going for biofuel and thereby “shifting focus from food to fuel”.

“To contain the crisis, you need to keep the borders open. You cannot put heavy tax on certain biofuels to produce it domestically,” he argued.

He said inflation is happening primarily because of three reasons - food price hike, increase in the price of basic materials like steel and rise in energy price.

“But let me tell you that food price in India is much less than the global food prices,” he added.

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