Tuesday, 15 Apr, 2008 Current Events

Global Food Crisis to Make 100 Million People Starve


Rising food prices that have already caused rebellions in several developing countries will likely to push more than 100 million people worldwide into deep poverty, World Bank President Robert Zoellick announced at the International Monetary Fund-World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington.

For many people, the surge in food prices over the last three years has made basic food unaffordable and this situation is going to be even worse. Food riots that took place in Haiti last week is one of the examples of what is going to happen in other countries around the world.

Prices on such food as rice, corn and wheat that remained stable for many years have risen by over 180 percent. The crisis mostly affects low-income countries in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. The increasing poverty that pushes many people to react with a protest and violence has already led to numerous deaths.

Recently, there have been numerous conflicts in several countries like Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Cameroon. Instability caused by starvation and poverty will afflict more than 33 countries, which may also help radical Islamic movements get support from them.

The food crisis has undermined all the efforts made to reduce poverty in recent years and this crisis will be more severe than financial crisis.

Global food crisis is a result of the growing population and the reduction of arable land. Climate changes also add to the loss of agricultural land. More and more arable lands were turned into pasture for livestock and raising cattle is a profitable business. The rising oil prices push many countries to grow energy crops that can be used to make biofuels. Civil wars also lead to a high number of incapacitated people who cannot produce food but need it for survival.

Robert Zoellick repeated his call for 500 million U.S. dollars from donor governments for a "New Deal for Global Food Policy" to fight with food crisis.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the New Deal at the joint meeting last weekend.

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