Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Guardian: World Bank warns of soaring food price dangers

The Guardian reports warnings by the World Bank president Robert Zoellick that a spike in global food prices has pushed millions more into poverty since last summer:
The World Bank has given a stark warning of the impact of the rising cost of food, saying an estimated 44 million people had been pushed into poverty since last summer by soaring commodity prices.

Robert Zoellick, the Bank's president, said food prices had risen by almost 30% in the past year and were within striking distance of the record levels reached during 2008.

"Global food prices are rising to dangerous levels and threaten tens of millions of poor people around the world," Zoellick said. "The price hike is already pushing millions of people into poverty, and putting stress on the most vulnerable, who spend more than half of their income on food."
So what, you may ask, is the World Bank doing about it? Well, something....
Announcing the latest findings, the bank said its Global Food Crisis Response Programme was helping some 40 million people in need by providing $1.5bn (£930m) of support. "To date, over 40 low-income countries are receiving or will receive assistance through new and improved seeds, irrigation, and other farm support and food assistance for the most vulnerable people. For example, in Benin, fertilizer provided through these resources led to the production of an extra 100,000 tonnes of cereal."

In the longer term, the bank said it was boosting its spending on agriculture to $6-8bn a year from $4.1bn in 2008.
Read the whole thing.


  1. More information on rising food prices:

  2. This article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/oct/08/worldbank.food?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487) shows that the World Bank was concerned with rising food prices back in 2008. Surely more action must be taken if Zoellick has to speak of the crisis more than once and over a period of time?

  3. With the developing BRIC nations, it is hard to see any way that food prices will be able to be contained, a similar story with oil. As long as markets are left to their own devices and not controlled by a central organisation, prices will continued to rise until the demand is no longer sufficient. However, the cost and effort of such an organisation may outweigh any of the issues caused by the rise in prices.