Percentage Rise in Prices
Time: Year to March 2008
April 14, 2008
World Bank tackles food emergency
The World Bank has announced emergency measures to tackle rising food prices around the world.
World Bank head Robert Zoellick warned that 100 million people in poor countries could be pushed deeper into poverty by spiralling prices.
The crisis has sparked recent food riots in several countries including Haiti, the Philippines and Egypt.
The World Bank endorsed Mr Zoellick's "new deal" action plan for a long-term boost to agricultural production.
Emergency help would include an additional $10m (£5m) to Haiti, where several people were killed in food riots last week, and a doubling of agricultural loans to African farmers.
Mr Zoellick's proposals were endorsed by the World Bank's steering committee of finance and development ministers at a meeting in Washington.
We have to put our money where our mouth is now so that we can put food into hungry mouths
World Bank head
The World Bank and its sister organisation, the IMF, have held a weekend of meetings that addressed rising food and energy prices as well as the credit crisis upsetting global financial markets.
The leader of the International Monetary Fund last week said hundreds of thousands of people were at risk of starvation because of food shortages.
Prices have risen sharply in recent months, driven by increased demand, poor weather in some countries that has ruined crops and reduced production area, thanks to an increase in the use of land to grow crops for transport fuels.
The price of staple crops such as wheat, rice and corn have all risen, leading to an increase in overall food prices of 83% in the last three years, the World Bank has said.
GLOBAL FOOD PRICE RISES
Time: Year to March 2008
The sharp rises have led to protests and unrest in many countries, including Egypt, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
In Haiti, protests last week turned violent, leading to the deaths of five people and the fall of the government.
Restrictions on rice exports have been put in place in major producing countries such as India, China, Vietnam and Egypt.
Importers such as Bangladesh, the Philippines and Afghanistan have been hit hard.
Rich urged to act
"We have to put our money where our mouth is now so that we can put food into hungry mouths," Mr Zoellick said. "It's as stark as that."
He called for more aid to provide food to needy people in poor countries and help for small farmers. He said the World Bank was working to provide money for seeds for planting in the new season.
He also urged wealthy donor countries to quickly fill the World Food Programme's estimated $500m (£250m) funding shortfall.
Mr Zoellick's "New Deal for Global Food Policy" also seeks to boost agricultural policy in poor countries in the longer-term.
On Saturday, the head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, warned of mass starvation and other dire consequences if food prices continued to rise sharply.
"As we know, learning from the past, those kind of questions sometimes end in war," he said.
He said the problem could lead to trade imbalances that may eventually affect developed nations, "so it is not only a humanitarian question".
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/04/14 11:02:54 GMT
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