UNITED NATIONS (AP) - When it comes to the global food crisis, former President Clinton feels "we all blew it, including me."
Clinton's admission came today before a gathering at the United Nations to mark World Food Day on October 16th. Clinton said much-needed food crops were treated "like color TVs" instead of a vital commodity that could aid the world's poor. He criticized decades of policymaking by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other agencies.
As an example he said Africans in particular were pressured into dropping government subsidies for fertilizer, improved seed and other farm inputs as a requirement to get aid. He said this resulted in a decline in Africa's food self-sufficiency and an increase in food imports. At the same time, Clinton saluted President Bush for pushing to change U.S. food aid policy.
Bush proposed requiring 25 percent of future U.S. aid be given in cash, but was defeated by a bipartisan coalition in Congress.