Surging food prices could slow poverty reduction by 7 years

(dpa) - In order to hammer home the point of just how dire the food situation in poor countries has become, World Bank President Robert Zoellick on Thursday resorted to holding up a bag of rice and a loaf of bread.

"In Bangladesh, a 2 kilogramme bag of rice now consumes almost half of the daily income of a poor family," he told reporters, noting the global price of rice has surged 75 per cent in just the last two months.

Then he turned to Yemen, where the World Bank said in a report Wednesday that a surge in global food prices could reverse all gains made in cutting poverty since 1998.

"Poor people in Yemen are now spending more than a quarter of their incomes just on bread, before they pay for other essential food for their children, let alone basic healthcare or shelter," Zoellick said.

Wheat prices worldwide have jumped 120 per cent in the last year, and 181 per cent in the last 36 months, according to the development bank.

All in all, the World Bank estimated that food prices have gone up 83 per cent in the last three years, and are not projected to fall significantly until 2015.

The food crunch is undermining poverty reduction goals as well as education and mortality rate targets across the developing world.

Zoellick said the price hikes had set back global efforts to reduce poverty by about seven years. The poor are spending as much as 75 per cent of their income on food alone in many countries, he said.

Emergency food aid programmes are in dire need of donations to help subsidise the world's poorest families. Relief agency Oxfam in a statement Thursday said "current food aid levels are the lowest of the past five decades."

Much of the blame has been placed on clean energy concerns. Oil prices are rising about as quickly as food costs - crude oil reached a record of more than 112 dollars per barrel Wednesday - making alternative energy options like biofuels increasingly attractive.

The World Bank said the production of ethanol - an alternative to petrol - in the United States ate up nearly all of the increased maize production globally between 2004 and 2007, when maize prices rose most sharply.

Wheat, soy and palm oil prices have all been hit by increased biofuel production.

Zoellick called on developed countries to immediately fill a 500- million-dollar food aid gap identified by the United Nations World Food Programme, suggesting it was the least they could do given their own thirst for new petrol sources.

"While many are worried about filling their gas tanks, many others around the world are struggling to fill their stomachs," Zoellick said.

In the long-term, Zoellick has called for a "new deal for global food policy," including cutting trade tariffs on agricultural products and measures to boost food grain production.

The first reaction could come on Friday, when finance ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) industrial nations meets in Washington ahead of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank's traditional round of spring meetings over the weekend.

Much of the G7 meeting will revolve around how to deal with an ongoing crisis in financial markets and the wider global economic slowdown.

But British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Thursday also urged the world's industrialized nations to take immediate action to tackle the food crisis, in a letter to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who chairs the G8 group that includes Russia.

"For the first time in decades, the number of people facing hunger is growing," said the letter, as released by the British government.

Apples supplies from Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan significantly increase
Apples supplies from Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan significantly increase
Energy ministers of Turkic Council member-countries to hold meeting
Energy ministers of Turkic Council member-countries to hold meeting
Several countries purchase Turkmen products on country's exchange
Several countries purchase Turkmen products on country's exchange
Loading Bars
Weekly review of Azerbaijani ICT sector highlights
UK's Sunak will set out plans to raise income tax by 6 billion sterling
Australia receives AstraZeneca vials as it ramps up vaccination drive
January 2021 value of mortgage loans in Azerbaijan grows in absolute terms
Kazakhstan adds 791 new COVID-19 cases
5.5-magnitude quake hits 81 km SW of Islay (Matarani), Peru
Iranian Minister unveils ports' infrastructure dev't plans
Turkey confirms 9,193 new COVID-19 cases, 2,693,164 in total
S&P Global affirms Georgia’s sovereign credit rating at ‘BB’
Razi COVID-19 vaccine to begin clinical trial: Minister
5 died after accident in northeast China chemical fiber plant
US regulator approves Johnson&Johnson coronavirus vaccine
Kazakhstan twofold decreases exports to Norway amid COVID-19
Iraq reports 3,543 new COVID-19 cases, 692,241 in total
5.3-magnitude quake hits 3 km SW of Point MacKenzie, Alaska
Qatar reports 460 new COVID-19 cases, 163,197 in total
Weekly review of highlights in Azerbaijani financial market
UK records another 7,434 coronavirus cases, 290 deaths
It is necessary to end deployment of Armenian armed forces on territory of Azerbaijan - Foreign Ministry
WHO reports over 420,000 new daily cases of COVID-19
Istanbul’s major Galataport project to go live in April
0.03% of pupils and 0.1% of school staff in Georgia confirmed with Covid-19 this week
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on February 28
Uzbekistan's largest share in formation of GDP falls on Tashkent
Azerbaijan's revenues from tea, coffee exports double in Jan.2021
Cargo movements in Iran's Khalij-e-Fars port increase
China conditionally approves one-shot recombinant COVID-19 vaccine
Stock gains power Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway to higher profit
More than 165,000 apply for Turkey’s most popular scholarship
Georgian Railway resumes passenger transfers
Kazakhstan reports value increase in all types of deposits
New road put into operation in Iran's Golestan Province
Azerbaijan sets up working subgroups to prepare 2021-2025 Development Strategy
Bahar Azadi gold coin price falling in Iran
Azerbaijan reports 172 more COVID-19 recoveries
Azerbaijan's Ministry of Finance to put up medium-term bonds for auction
Azerbaijan's banking sector ends January 2021 with profit
Foundation of several manufacturing enterprises laid in Iran's Qazvin Province
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy spare parts for metal detector via tender
USAID to promote start-up dev’t in Turkmenistan
President Aliyev: Any attempt to violate implementation of November 10th declaration will be very harmful for Armenia (VIDEO)
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for February 27
Bosnian TV channel visits liberated Azerbaijani Aghdam, reminds of Khojaly genocide
Azerbaijani police officers find ordnances left by Armenians in Khojavand (PHOTO)
Long-term energy demand impact of COVID-19 is modest
President Aliyev to Iranian reporter: Your question is a kind of an accusation (VIDEO)
New Zealand's largest city Auckland back to lockdown after COVID-19 case
Iran pins hopes on Swiss financial channel to purchase COVID-19 vaccines
Foreign journalists visit village where two-year-old Azerbaijani girl was killed by Armenians
Volume of cargo loaded, unloaded in Iran’s Chabahar port revealed
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's oil and gas sector
Eni Turkmenistan Ltd opens tender for catering, housekeeping services
Kazakhstan boosts imports of Switzerland-made products
Uzbek ministry, German Society for International Cooperation sign agreement
Uzbekistan, China expand mutual trade despite COVID-19
Georgia reports 373 new cases of coronavirus on Feb.27
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange soar
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Baku Metro continues preparatory work for commissioning of new 'November' 8 station
Iran's exports to Russia increase
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy spare parts for pumps via tender
Kazakh airlines eye to launch several flights on Turkestan-Istanbul route
UNDP in Turkmenistan opens tender for services on seismic work
Volume of electricity generated by renewable energy power plants in Iran announced
Researcher talks monuments on ancient Azerbaijani lands vandalized by Armenians (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan reveals COVID-19 data for Feb. 27
Azerbaijan's MoD shares footage from Gubadly's Afandilar village (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iranian currency rates for February 27
Remittances from Azerbaijan to Georgia show highest growth rate
Belarus considering possibility of supplying agricultural machinery to Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan’s Turkmenbashi Oil Refinery exceeds plan for kerosene production
Azerbaijani oil prices published
Kazakhstan's uranium mining company opens tender to acquire electro-technical materials
Issuance of construction permissions in Georgia down
Philippines extends partial coronavirus curbs in capital until end-March
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Kazakh gas supply company to attract equipment installation services via tender
Turkey's tourism industry puts hopes on safety measures for new season
Azerbaijani marketing platform plans to become regional player
Argentine health minister tests positive for COVID-19
Czech gov't declares new state of emergency over coronavirus
U.S. FDA advisors recommend approving Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use
Increase in malware attacks makes cybersecurity more relevant than ever - Kaspersky Lab in Azerbaijan
South Korea vaccinates 18,000 to start ambitious COVID-19 campaign
US may announce new sanctions on Russia within weeks - White House press secretary
Founder of Indian Jet Airways eyes opening airline in Uzbekistan’s Namangan region
Saudi Arabia rejects U.S. intelligence report on Khashoggi's killing: statement
Israel registers 2,738 new COVID-19 cases, 769,971 in total
U.S. announces 'Khashoggi ban' for 76 Saudi individuals
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 427,000 in past day
Slovenia confirms first case of coronavirus variant identified in S. Africa
UN Security Council adopts resolution on vaccination
UK records another 8,523 coronavirus cases, 345 deaths
Kazakhstan shows interest in supplies of Belarusian sugar, its manufacturing technology
Turkey reports 9,205 new COVID-19 cases, 2,683,971 in total
Iran, Russia emphasize need to coop. in agricultural sector
When will Georgia receive its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?
House poised to approve Biden's $1.9T coronavirus relief bill in Friday vote
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Azerbaijan discloses volume of liabilities of banks in Jan. 2021 accounting for deposits
All news