On April 30 in Lima, Peru, over 2,000 women protested against rising food prices. This recent outburst is part of a food crisis that is sweeping the globe, from Kazakhstan to Haiti. In Lima, women from poor communities and soup kitchens beat on empty pots and carried signs in front of the congress, chanting to President Alan Garcia: "The pot is empty, Garcia!"
The recent price hike for food has led to an approval rating for Peruvian President Alan Garcia of 26%, the lowest since he was elected in 2006. "Food prices keep on rising and the government doesn’t pay attention to the eating halls," Maria Bozeta, a director of one of three associations that represent eating halls in Lima, told Reuters. Protester Soledad Requena asked, "Where will we go to eat?"
The extensive wheat shortage in Peru has even forced the military to bake bread with potato flour. Potato is a native crop of Peru.
After slashing taxes on imported food, Garcia sent the military to poor neighborhoods in Lima to hand out food. Yet instability continues to spread throughout the nation as citizens demand increased assistance from the government in order to cover the rising food costs.
Government subsidized eating halls in Peru are being flooded with hundreds of thousands of people per day. According to Reuters, 42% of the Peruvian population, or 12 million people, live in poverty. The women protesting in the capital demand that the government increase its subsidies to the eating halls by 30%.
The Real News reported that just a few days before the Lima protests, Brazil announced it would ban the exportation of rice due to concerns that rising prices and dwindling supplies could further deplete food for national consumption. Other countries, primarily in Asia, have also banned rice exports, worsening the global food shortage.
Video Report: Brazil Bans Rice Exports, Protests in Peru