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Food prices put fight against poverty back 7 years

World Bank: rocketing food prices have put fight against poverty back 7 years

London Guardian
April 10, 2008

Rocketing global food prices are causing acute problems of hunger in poor countries and have put back the fight against poverty by seven years, the World Bank said today.

Robert Zoellick, the Bank’s president, said that while consumers in rich countries were worried about the cost of filling the fuel tanks in their cars, people in poor countries were “struggling to fill their stomachs. And it’s getting more and more difficult every day.”

Zoellick said the price of wheat has risen by 120% in the past year, more than doubling the cost of a loaf of bread. Rice prices were up by 75%.

“In Bangladesh a two kilogram bag of rice now consumes almost half of the daily income of a poor family. With little margin for survival, rising prices too often means fewer meals.”

Poor people in Yemen, he said, were now spending more than a quarter of their income on bread.

“This is not just about meals foregone today, or about increasing social unrest, it is about lost learning potential for children and adults in the future, stunted intellectual and physical growth. Even more, we estimate that the effect of this food crisis on poverty reduction worldwide is in the order of seven lost years.”

The Bank’s analysis chimes with research from the International Monetary Fund showing that Africa will be the hardest hit continent from rising food prices. More than 20 African countries will see their trade balance worsen by more than 1% of GDP as a result of having to pay more for food.

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World Bank expects more high food prices

AP News
April 8, 2008

Rising food prices, which have caused social unrest in several countries, are not a temporary phenomenon, but are likely to persist for several years, World Bank President Robert Zoellick says.

Strong demand, change in diet and the use of biofuels as an alternative source of energy have reduced world food stocks to a level bordering on an emergency, he says.

Speaking to reporters Monday before the bank’s spring meeting this coming weekend, Zoellick said the 185-member World Bank would work with other organizations to deal with the crisis by seeking ways to help farmers, especially in Africa, to increase productivity and improve access to food through schools or workplaces.

“This is not a this-year phenomenon,” he said, referring to the price spike. “I think it is going to continue for some time.”

Zoellick said bank forecasters looking at food prices have concluded that a serious risk exists of a significant increase in poverty, which for some countries will reverse gains made over the past five to 10 years.

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Food as a Weapon: The Rape of Iraq
http://mparent7777-1.blogspot.com/2008/04/food-as-weapon-rape-of-iraq.html

UN Chief: Food riots are already being reported across the globe
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/apr/09/food.unitednations

Grains Gone Wild
http://www.nytimes.com/2008.._r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

Food Haitians storm palace in food price riots
http://www.boston.com/news/world/la..rm_palace_in_food_price_riots/

Rice Jumps to Record, Corn Near High as Demand Outpaces Supply
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/new..&sid=aBPFBEmOgnh8&refer=home

Food riots fear after rice price hits a high
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environ..r/06/food.foodanddrink

Food prices to rise for years, biofuel firms say
http://www.reuters.com/article/reutersEdge/idUSL0324014220080403

Rush to restrict trade in basic foods
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7a4c2b98..77b07658.html?nclick_check=1

 


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