There is a global food crisis. Earlier this month, World Bank president Robert Zoellick announced that the U.N. World Food Program needs at least $500 million (€319 million) in additional food aid to meet emergency demands. He told the United States, the European Union, Japan and other developed countries in no uncertain terms, “to fill this gap or many more people will suffer and starve.”
An estimated 33 countries face the prospect of social or political unrest due to high food prices. Think about that. Political regimes could topple over the price of bread.
According to ONE, the Campaign to Make Poverty History, “Rising food prices are dealing a crushing blow to the world’s poorest people, who spend around half of their income on food. The current situation threatens to exacerbate the twin crises of hunger and malnutrition; already, under-nutrition contributes to almost half of all child deaths and more than 20% of maternal deaths.” Consider spending half your income on food. Not an ipod, not the iphone, not i-anything; half your income paying for food. And think about how needless these deaths are. These children aren’t dying of some incurable disease. They’re dying simply because they don’t have food to eat.
As Americans we should consider ourselves lucky, for many reasons. We have incredible wealth, amazing technology, and tremendous freedom. Also, we pay the smallest fraction of our income for food in the world, an average of 7.2% in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But even here, food prices are rising and it is hurting a lot of people. It is especially difficult to people whose jobs are tied to food like bakers and restaurant owners.
For more info:
A call for donors to help alleviate the problem
Information on how the World Bank plans to face the crisis http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/04/02/business/NA-FIN-World-Bank-Food.php
How the Food Crisis is affecting Americans