Bush, Rice say rising food consumption in India, China raising prices news
03 May 2008

US President George W Bush and his secretary of state Condoleezza Rice have made identical remarks blaming India and China for the spiraling global food prices.

Bush's remarks come a day after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice blamed the rising prosperity of India's huge middle class for the spiraling global food prices.

Prosperity in countries like India is "good" but it triggers increased demand for "better nutrition" which in turn leads to higher food prices, Bush said.

Bush made the statement while announcing $770 million in emergency food assistance to poor countries, responding to rising food prices that have resulted in social unrest in several nations.

Bush made the proposal in an unscheduled appearance in the White House.

The US administration last month ordered the Department of Agriculture to release $200 million in commodities paid for by a special trust fund, while the United States Agency for International Development promised $40 million more in emergency aid to countries hardest hit by soaring prices and shortages.

Bush also called on other countries to ease trade barriers restricting agricultural imports or exports and to lift bans on genetically modified foods. He urged Congress to give the government greater flexibility in dispersing assistance. He said the administration wanted to use a quarter of all the American aid to buy food from local farmers in foreign countries rather than here in the United States.

''In order to break the cycle of famine that we're having to deal with too often in a modern era, it's important to help build up local agriculture,'' he said. He did not insist on that approach as a condition for increasing aid, though.

The proposal received strong support on Thursday from the charity Oxfam America. ''While America provides half of the world's food aid, this generosity is undermined by legal restrictions and bureaucracy, as food aid must be purchased in the US and transported on US-flagged ships,'' Oxfam said in a statement.

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Bush, Rice say rising food consumption in India, China raising prices