REFLECTIONS BY THE COMMANDER IN
FOR THE DEAF WHO WON’T LISTEN
A summary of the FAO declaration from
its headquarters in Rome, on May 16, 2007.
World cereal production is on track to reach a
record level in 2007. In spite of this, supplies will be barely
adequate to meet increased demand, boosted by the development of the
International prices for most cereals have risen
significantly in 2006-07 and the current forecast shows that prices
will stay high in 2007-08, according to the relevant report "Crop
Perspectives and Food Situation". It is forecast that the cereal
import bill of the low-income food deficit countries will increase
by about 25 percent in the current season.
The rapid growth of the demand for maize-based
ethanol is expected to increase by 9 percent the use of that grain
Expectations for the world wheat harvest are down
slightly since the April forecast.
In North Africa, a sharp decline is
expected in 2007 cereal production, reflecting dry conditions in
Morocco that are anticipated to halve the country’s wheat production
In Southern Africa, a reduced cereal harvest is
expected for the second consecutive year. In Zimbabwe, a huge rise
in the price of maize, a basic staple for millions, is anticipated
as a result of the drought.
In Malawi, an ample exportable surplus will be
available following a bumper harvest.
Emergency assistance is required for large numbers
of vulnerable farmers in Bolivia affected by serious crop and
livestock losses following drought and floods during the 2007 main
The flare up of conflict in southern Somalia has
displaced hundreds of thousands of people and is likely to reduce
the area planted.
A first provisional FAO forecast for world
production of rice in 2007 points to a slightly improved harvest
with some 422 millions of tons, thus matching the 2005 record.
Except for China and India –the main producers– the
cereal harvest totals in the rest of the countries will drop
FAO recognizes the consequences of producing food-based
fuels. That is something.
But it is also remarkable to see the news that the
United States Congress decided to replace 23 thousand incandescent
light bulbs with fluorescent throughout its offices. It is said that
American families, on their own volition, have decided to replace 37
million incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent. In just a few
months, the 37 million replaced light bulbs will save the equivalent
cost of gasoline for 260,000 automobiles. Calculate the savings when
billions of incandescent light bulbs are replaced.
I shall digress now to tackle a topic which deals
with my person, and I ask for your indulgence.
The news dispatches talk of an operation. My
compatriots were not too happy that I explained on more than one
occasion that my recovery would not be without its risks. Generally
speaking, there was talk about a date when I would make a public
appearance, dressed in my olive green fatigues as usual. Well then,
it was not just one operation but several. Initially, it was not
successful and this implicated a prolonged recovery period.
For many months, I relied on intravenous procedures
and catheters for the greater part of my nutrition, and I wanted to
spare our people an unpleasant disappointment. Today I receive
everything required by my recovery orally. There is no danger
greater than that related to age and to a state of health which I
abused during some of the hazardous times I lived through. Nowadays
I do what I should be doing, especially reflecting and writing about
issues which, to my mind, have some importance and transcendence. I
have a lot pending. For the present, I do not have time for films
and photos that require me to constantly trim my hair, beard and
moustache, and to get dressed up every day. Moreover, such
presentations multiply requests for interviews. Let me simply say to
everyone that my health has been improving and my weight is stable
at around 80 kilos.
I try to keep the reflections as brief as possible
so as not to take much space from the press and television news
programs. The rest of the time I am reading, receiving information,
talking on the phone with many much comrades and carrying out the
rehab exercises that are necessary for my recovery. I cannot say or
criticize everything that I know, because if I did so, human and
international relations would be impossible, and our country cannot
do without them. But I shall be true to the motto of never writing a
Fidel Castro Ruz
May 23, 2007.