Friday, April 11, 2008

The Global Food Crisis Part I

This is an article from the WP regarding the current crisis:

[T]he World Bank ...[is] dealing with the impact of rapidly rising food prices on poor nations, which already has spawned unrest in 33 countries, including Haiti, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Cameroon and Mozambique.

The rising prices -- up 83 percent in the three years preceding February, according to the World Bank -- are projected to continue for the next several years, threatening to undermine progress that has been made in battling extreme poverty and malnutrition.

"While many worry about filling their gas tanks, many others around the world are struggling to fill their stomachs," World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick told reporters yesterday. "And it's getting more and more difficult every day."

In meetings this weekend, Zoellick said, he hopes to rally the world's developed nations around what he calls "a new deal" for global food policy. To deal with the immediate food crisis, he has called on the world community to make up the $500 million shortfall in the United Nations World Food Program, while expanding other food aid for the poor around the world.

Longer term, he said, agricultural development should be made a greater priority, particularly in places such as Africa, which have vastly underutilized potential for food production.

The bank has already said it would nearly double its agricultural lending to sub-Saharan Africa to $800 million next year.

Zoellick said that the bank's food goals are about more than charity. They also present an opportunity for future economic growth -- a point he is pressing with the managers of sovereign wealth funds around the world. A 1 percent investment from those funds, he said, would amount to $30 billion in new investment in African development.

"Meetings such as this one are usually about talk. Words can focus attention. They can build momentum. But we can't be satisfied with studies, papers and talk," Zoellick said.

for link to complete WP article click the title of this post

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