Food prices expected to increase, how is the Church to respond?

The Catholic News Service reports on calls by Roman Catholic bishops that the Church must respond to expected continued rise in the price of basic food commodities.

According to the article:

“Already this year, demonstrations linked to spiraling food prices have struck more than a dozen countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Protests forced Haitian Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis out of office April 12, and demonstrators have been killed in Cameroon, Peru and Mozambique.

The price increases are fueled by a variety of factors that ‘are all coming together at once,’ said Lisa Kuennen, director of the public resource group at Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ international relief and development agency.

[…]Price increases hit poor countries — and their poorest citizens — hardest. “

In response:

After violent protests in Haiti in early April, the country’s Catholic bishops urged the government to implement both emergency and long-term policies to tackle hunger. In a statement issued April 12, the Haitian bishops’ conference condemned the violence that began with protests in the southern city of Les Cayes and left at least five people dead.

Although “the right to demonstrate is sacred,” the statement said, “this does not authorize anyone to take lives or attack property belonging to others.”

In their statement, the bishops warned that peaceful demonstrations should not be infiltrated by “agitators and interested manipulators.” Many Haitian analysts had suggested that the demonstrations over high food prices had been hijacked by politicians trying to turn the unrest to their political advantage.

The article ends with a call for the development of long-term policies in areas such as land reform, export controls and monetary policy changes that together are hoped to be able to “keep large numbers of people from slipping back into hunger and poverty”.

Read the full article here.

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