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Increasing food prices pushes people deeper into poverty – World Bank

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The increase in food prices in the world which is 36% above, as compared to last year, is still pushing people deeper into poverty, the World Bank says.

In the latest World Bank’s Food Price Watch, a 10% increase in global food prices will put 10 million individuals below the extreme poverty line which is $1.25.

“A further 10 percent increase in global prices could drive an additional 10 million people below the $1.25 extreme poverty line. A 30 percent price hike could lead to 34 million more poor”, said the Bank in a statement issued on April 14, 2011.

The statement added: “A 30 percent price hike could lead to 34 million more poor. This is in addition to the 44 million people who have been driven into poverty since last June as a result of the spikes.”

The World Bank estimates that there are about 1.2 billion people living below the poverty line of US$1.25 a day

Commenting on the recent trend food price increases, Robert B. Zoellick, President of the World Bank Group was cited in the statement as saying that more people are suffering due to the volatile prices of food.

“More poor people are suffering and more people could become poor because of high and volatile food prices…We have to put food first and protect the poor and vulnerable, who spend most of their money on food”, Zoellick said.

Items such as vegetables, meats, fruits and cooking oil continued to rise with potentially adverse nutritional consequences for the poor in many countries, according to the World Bank.

The Bank indicates that severe weather events in key grain exporting countries, export restrictions, increasing use of biofuel production, low global stocks and surging crude oil prices are major contributors to the volatile food prices.

In its long-term plan in solving the crisis, the World Bank Group says it is spending some $7 billion a year on agriculture from $4.1 billion in 2008.

 

By Ekow Quandzie

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