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CLARIN(Argentina), EL PAIS, EL DIARIO DE LEON (Spain)

Worldcrunch

MADRID - Unemployment, rising taxes and falling wages have combined to change the calculus for more and more people in Spain. Increasingly, according to new studies, Spanish households are dealing with the economic crisis by reducing the quality and quantity of foods they eat.

According to El Pais, the official statistics given by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment showed that the money spent on food decreased by 2.3% in September and 1.8% in October. The spending per person decreased during three months consecutively as well. This data was compiled by a survey of 12,000 homes during a one-year period (Nov 2011-Oct 2012).

El Diario De Leon writes that the Catholic charity Caritas, which takes care of the poor and oppressed, increased their distribution of non-perishable food to help families over the Christmas period by 30%.

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Photo: Polycart via Flickr

The food industry is traditionally one of the most resistant during a crisis, but this particular downturn has taught many consumers worldwide to seek other eating options at lower prices. Now in Spain, the low-cost supermarkets (such as Mercadona and Dia) are pushing their prices down further. Thanks to a 3% sales tax increase on foods (from 7%-10%) implemented by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy after the summer, many once standard foods have now come to be considered luxury items for Spanish consumers.

Argentine daily Clarin reports that meat, fish and sausages are being replaced by foods that are cheaper, such as pasta, rice and cheaper meats. Wine sales are down by 9.4% and the sparkling variety by 9.8%. But, most surprisingly, olive oil is being sold less and less (-15.7%) in a country where it is widely produced. Cheaper oils, says El Pais, such as sunflower are now an increasingly popular alternative. (1%).

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Photo: Tamorlan via Wikipedia

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Overselling The Russia-Ukraine Grain Deal Is One More Putin Scam

Moscow and Kyiv reached a much hailed accord in July to allow transport of Ukrainian agricultural output from ports along the Black Sea. However, analysis from Germany's Die Welt and Ukraine's Livy Bereg shows that it has done little so far to solve the food crisis, and is instead being used by Putin to advance his own ambitions.

Vladimir Putin inspecting the wheat harvesting at the village of Vyselki, Krasnodar Territory in 2009.

Oleksandr Decyk, Christian Putsch

-Analysis-

Brokered by Turkey on July 22, the Grain Deal between Russia and Ukraine ensured the export of Ukrainian agricultural products from the country's largest sea ports. Exports by sea of grains and oilseeds have been increasing. Optimistic reports, featuring photos of the first deliveries to Africa, are circulating about how the risk of a global food crisis has been averted.

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But a closer look shows a different story. The Black Sea ports are not fully opened, which will impact not only Ukraine. The rest of the world can expect knock-on effects, including potentially hunger for millions. Indeed, a large proportion of the deliveries are not going to Africa at all.

As with other reported "breakthroughs" in the war, Vladimir Putin has other objectives in mind — and is still holding on to all his cards.

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