Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Will the world go short of food?

The head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that the rise in basic food costs could continue until 2010. What impact will this have? Head of the WFP, Josette Sheeran, has warned that global food reserves are at their lowest level in 30 years. She said that the WFP may have to ration foods due to funding shortages.Ms Sheeran linked rising food costs to energy and grain prices, the effects of climate change and demand for biofuels.

Areas where the WFP is already seeing an impact include:
  • Afghanistan: 2.5 million people in Afghanistan cannot afford the price of wheat, which rose more than 60% in 2007
  • Bangladesh: The price of rice has risen 25% to 30% over the last three months. In 2007, the price rose about 70%.
  • El Salvador: Rural communities are buying 50% less food than they did 18 months ago with the same amount of money. This means their nutritional intake, on an already poor diet, is cut by half.
  • Anger over rising food prices have already led to riots in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Senegal and Morocco.

The BBC has a special day of coverage of this issue on Tuesday 11 March, online, on radio and on TV.