Poverty rises as food prices increase
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The World Bank, an organization that provides loans to developing countries, warned Thursday that rising food prices are driving millions of people deeper into poverty.
, World Bank president, said that food prices have risen 36% over the last year, pushing 44 million more people into poverty since last June. About 1.2 billion people are extremely poor.
He warned that a further increase of 10% in the cost of food would move an additional 10 million persons into extreme poverty, and there was no sign of a near term reversal in the inflation of food prices, which affects the developing world disproportionately.
"We have to put food first and protect the poor and vulnerable, who spend most of their money on food," said Zoellick. “The general trend lines are ones where we are in a danger zone… because prices have already gone up and [food] stocks are relatively low,” he said.
|The general trend lines are ones where we are in a danger zone.|
—Robert Zoelick, World Bank president
The cost of the, such as , and are all surging. Only has shown a slight decrease in price.
The steep rise in the cost of food is being driven by a combination of factors, including bad weather in food exporting areas such as Russia, Ukraine, North America and China, rising energy costs that increase the cost of producing and transporting food, and the incentives for farmers in many countries to produce crops for s instead of for food.
"The linkage between food and fuel is much tighter than it was ten years ago," said Zoellick.
Additionally, the change in diet of the growing middle class in developing countries means they consume more meat and pork products which take increased grain to produce and drives up the price of.
|The linkage between food and fuel is much tighter than it was ten years ago.|
—Robert Zoelick, World Bank president
National food investment and export policies of some wealthier countries are affecting poorer nations. For example, China is acquiring large amounts of land in Africa to grow food for the needs of the Chinese; Saudi Arabia has given up wheat production to invest overseas for food, and a in Russia has led it to implement an export ban on wheat.
Zoellick spoke in Washington at the opening of the meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He hopes to discuss food policies with officials of the countries to develop a "code of conduct" on export bans and to encourage these countries to do more to increase food production and aid developing countries in managing agricultural problems.
On Saturday, the World Bank and the IMF issued "Global Monitoring Report 2011: Improving the Odds of Achieving the MDGs" which said the world was still on track toward reaching a key goal of reducing the number of the world's people living in extreme poverty and hunger by half, to 883 million, by the target date of 2015. Most of the world's progress is due to fast growth in India and China, while African countries are behind.
- "World Bank says more people are poor, but fewer are in extreme poverty" — Wikinews, August 27, 2008
- "Economic policy makers conclude Washington meetings" — Wikinews, April 14, 2008
- Ekow Quandzie. "Increasing food prices pushes people deeper into poverty – World Bank" — , April 16, 2011
- Patrick Kisembo. "Food price inflation threatens world poor -WBank" — , April 16, 2011
- "'More countries closer to MDG targets, but poorest countries need urgent help'" — , April 16, 2011
- Philip Brasher. "Food prices pushing world to poverty's 'danger zone'" — , April 15, 2011
- Philip Aldrick. "World Bank: Food prices have entered the 'danger zone'" — , April 14, 2011
- "Food prices: World Bank warns millions face poverty" — , April 14, 2011