Central Asia particularly vulnerable to rising food prices
Central Asian states may have great difficulty weathering the soaring prices of food on the world market, the head of the World Bank said, Central Asia Newswire reported.
Bank President Robert Zoellick said that Central Asia could be hit particularly hard because food prices there are already high and people already spend a disproportionate amount of their income for basic sustenance.
"Central Asia is a region where these food prices have increased quite substantially," AFP news agency on Tuesday quoted Zoellick as saying. "And given the poverty levels, people have a large percentage of their budget, 50 percent or higher, that will go to these purchases."
The falling amount of remittances to the region may also compound the problem, he added.
"A lot of these (Central Asian) countries have been hit by the shortage of remittances, too, that have come from Russia," Zoellick said. "So there is a real stress point that could have social and political implications across Central Asia."
According to the World Bank, global food prices have increased by 29 percent since January of last year and have forced 44 million people throughout the world to become impoverished.
Zoellick noted that the spike in food prices was an "aggravating factor" in the Tunisian revolt last month that forced long-time ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to give up his post.