Global food prices rise and famine increases

Published on WSWS, by Barry Mason, 29 March 2008.

The United Nations body World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that the rise in global food prices will reduce its ability to feed hungry and malnourished people.

Speaking last month in Rome, where the WFP is based, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said, Our ability to reach people is going down just as needs go up…. We are seeing a new face of hunger in which people are being priced out of the food market…. Situations that were previously not urgent – they are now.

In a press release, the WFP gave a new estimate for the funds needed for its work this year at nearly US$3.5 billion, half a billion more than estimated last year. This money is for approved projects to feed 73 million people in 78 countries throughout the world. It notes that this money is for projected feeding schemes and does not include unforeseen emergencies that may arise …

… The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has said it will cut the amount of food aid it provides. It blamed the recent sharp increase in commodity prices, which have left it with a US$120 million budget deficit.

Amy Barry, an Oxfam spokesperson on trade, quoted in the Observer on March 2, noted: More and more people are going to be facing food shortages in the future…. Given what is happening due to rising food prices we need to think about the impact this will have on people [in the developing world] who are spending up to 80% of their incomes on food.

The impact of the economic crisis of the capitalist system will have a devastating affect on the lives of some of the poorest people in the world.

(full text).

See also:

Workers protest rising prices in UAE, Egypt, by Joe Kay, 22 March 2008;

Food prices continue to rise worldwide, by Naomi Spencer, 25 February 2008;

Severe food shortages, price spikes threaten world population, by Naomi Spencer, 22 December 2007.

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