Tuesday, April 19, 2011

World Bank Warns of Soaring Food Prices

World Bank warns of soaring food prices

Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:10AM

World Bank President Robert Zoellick made remarks at a news briefing to open the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank's 2011 Spring Meetings on April 14, 2011

The World Bank has warned that global food prices have reached unsafe levels, pushing 44 million people, mostly in poor countries, into poverty since June last year.

"We are in a danger zone because prices have already gone up; stocks for many commodities are relatively low," AFP quoted World Bank President Robert Zoellick as saying on Thursday.

Speaking after the opening of the bank's annual meeting with the International Monetary Fund in Washington, Zoellick stated that the fluctuations in food prices pose a great threat to the lives of the poor people in the world.

He also turned the spotlight on growing concerns over a sharp increase in global food prices in recent years, saying food investment policies of some of the world's wealthier nations in poorer countries played a major role in the problem.

Zoellick also said advanced economies must play a significant role in curbing the impact on the most affected nations.

According to the World Bank's latest Food Price Watch report released on Thursday, the global food prices saw a 36 percent rise compared to a year ago. The report also estimated that a further 10 percent increase could push 10 million more people, with an income of less than $1.25 per day, into extreme poverty.

The report says 44 million people have been pushed into poverty since June 2010 because of high and volatile food prices, and a further 30 percent price hike could increase the world's poor population to 34 million.

According to the World Bank's food index, there are currently 1.2 billion people living below the poverty line of less than $1.25 a day.

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