World Bank warns of high food prices

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The World Bank in its latest “Food Price Watch” report released on November 29 said that a “new norm” of costlier food was setting in globally and threatening to increase hunger and malnutrition in the world’s poorer regions.

According to the report, global food prices remain at high levels, or 7 per cent higher than a year ago. Grains are 12 per cent above their levels 12 months before and very close to the all-time high of 2008. Maize was 17 per cent higher than in October 2011 and 10 per cent above the record-high prices of February 2011.

“Although we haven’t seen a food crisis as the one of 2008, food security should remain a priority,”  Otaviano Canuto, the World Bank’s vice president for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, said in the report.

“We need additional efforts to strengthen nutrition programs, safety nets, and sustainable agriculture, especially when the right actions can bring about exceptional benefits. The world cannot afford to get used to or be complacent with high and volatile food prices,” he added.

UN agencies have estimated that some 870 million people are chronically malnourished. Eradicating hunger is one of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals to reduce global poverty.

The World Bank urged governments to strengthen safety nets for the poorest and ensure that nutrition was factored into the help given to poor households.

The World Bank and other development lenders have increased financing for agriculture in developing countries, a sector that had long suffered from underinvestment. The 2008 food price and energy crisis, however, highlighted the need for more investment in food production.

A swelling middle class in fast-growing emerging economies like China has added to rising demand for more food supplies, the World Bank said.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The World Bank in its latest “Food Price Watch” report released on November 29 said that a “new norm” of costlier food was setting in globally and threatening to increase hunger and malnutrition in the world’s poorer regions.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The World Bank in its latest “Food Price Watch” report released on November 29 said that a “new norm” of costlier food was setting in globally and threatening to increase hunger and malnutrition in the world’s poorer regions.

According to the report, global food prices remain at high levels, or 7 per cent higher than a year ago. Grains are 12 per cent above their levels 12 months before and very close to the all-time high of 2008. Maize was 17 per cent higher than in October 2011 and 10 per cent above the record-high prices of February 2011.

“Although we haven’t seen a food crisis as the one of 2008, food security should remain a priority,”  Otaviano Canuto, the World Bank’s vice president for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, said in the report.

“We need additional efforts to strengthen nutrition programs, safety nets, and sustainable agriculture, especially when the right actions can bring about exceptional benefits. The world cannot afford to get used to or be complacent with high and volatile food prices,” he added.

UN agencies have estimated that some 870 million people are chronically malnourished. Eradicating hunger is one of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals to reduce global poverty.

The World Bank urged governments to strengthen safety nets for the poorest and ensure that nutrition was factored into the help given to poor households.

The World Bank and other development lenders have increased financing for agriculture in developing countries, a sector that had long suffered from underinvestment. The 2008 food price and energy crisis, however, highlighted the need for more investment in food production.

A swelling middle class in fast-growing emerging economies like China has added to rising demand for more food supplies, the World Bank said.

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