Britain has criticised as obscene the presence of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe at this week’s global food summit in Rome, saying his profound misrule had ruined the lives of his countrymen. Around 60 heads of state and government leaders are in Rome, discussing the fallout from surging food prices. Rising costs, allied to record oil prices, are threatening a global catastrophe, with the world’s poor unable to feed themselves.
Mugabe is subject to a long-standing EU ban on entering Europe. But since the summit is being organised by the UN, he was allowed to enter Italy.
With food prices expected to remain high over the next decade, even if they fall back from current records, the summit will address long-term policies, such as support for small farmers and trade reforms, as well as immediate food aid.
OXFAM staged a small protest outside the FAO
headquarters and called for an end to the use of
biofuels. Opponents say biofuel production has caused 30 percent of the global food price hikes by diverting food from people’s mouths into fuel tanks and competing for arable land.