Growing world water wars, growing food wars, and a growing world war! World Bank President Robert Zoellick says the escalating price of food is stunting opportunities and creating hardship for people in poor countries. The international lending organization says it aims to double agricultural business investment this year and called on rich countries to help offset the rising cost of food. Speaking to reporters ahead of the World Bank/IMF meetings this weekend, Zoellick said World Bank members must step up efforts to stave off what he called a "growing emergency" in developing countries. VOA's Mil Arcega reports. The world Bank says Sub-Saharan countries will be among the hardest hit by the skyrocketing cost of food.
"This is not just about meals foregone today or about increasing social unrest. This is about lost learning potential for children and adults in the future - stunted intellectual and physical growth. Even more, we estimate that the effects of this food crisis on poverty reduction worldwide is on the order of seven lost years," he added. Food riots have already erupted in developing nations where people spend as much as 60 percent of their income on food. The U.N. and World Bank blame the rising cost of food on a combination of factors including climate change, higher energy prices and the growing demand for biofuels. Despite efforts world hunger growing
Demand for ethanol and other biofuels is a "significant contributor" to soaring food prices around the world, World Bank President Robert Zoellick says. Droughts, financial market speculators and increased demand for food have also helped create "a perfect storm" that has boosted those prices, he says. The soaring costs of food and fuel led to riots in Haiti and Egypt and a general strike in Burkina Faso this week. Skyrocketing food prices are topping the agenda this weekend of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual spring meetings in Washington. Zoellick held up a bag of rice during a news conference Thursday to illustrate the severity of the food crisis.
"In Bangladesh a two-kilogram bag of rice ... now consumes about half of the daily income of a poor family," he said. "The price of a loaf of bread ... has more than doubled. Poor people in Yemen are now spending more than a quarter of their incomes just on bread." And Zoellick says prices for basic staples will remain high for an extended period of time.
* "I think you have a perfect storm of things coming together," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep in an interview. "You have high energy prices. You have the increase in demand from some of the developing countries. ... As the Indian commerce minister said to me, going from one meal a day to two meals a day for 300 million people increases demand a lot. Bio fuels boosting food prices
Perfect storm no kidding? 40 countries face food shortages worldwide Darfur crisis most pressing humanitarian problem 9 October 2006, Rome -- Forty countries are facing food emergencies and require external assistance, with the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan still the most pressing humanitarian problem, according to an FAO report released today. In Darfur, “the already precarious food supply situation may worsen if deteriorating security disrupts the main harvest due to start in the coming few weeks,” FAO’s Crop Prospects and Food Situation report warns. Close monitoring of global food situation needed. Prospects for the 2006 world cereal harvest have deteriorated further since July, according to the report. Exceptionally hot and dry weather is adversely affecting the wheat crops in Australia, Argentina and Brazil, while drier-than-normal weather in parts of South Asia is also raising some concern for the second 2006 paddy crop.
Africa: While the situation in Darfur remains the most critical, elsewhere in Eastern Africa, despite improved prospects for the 2006/07 crops in some areas, floods, erratic rains and conflict-related displacement have negatively affected the food situation. Most of the region’s pastoral areas have yet to recover from the successive poor rains that severely affected livestock and resulted in acute food shortages and migration of thousands of people in search of water and food.
Asia: Reduced food aid and crop damage due to floods in July has increased the severity of food insecurity in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In Timor-Leste, hundreds of thousands of people affected by civil unrest still need food assistance. Over 45 000 people affected by drought and floods in Nepal have received relief assistance. Unprecedented floods caused by several weeks of torrential rain have left millions of people in India and Pakistan homeless and in need of food assistance.
* The Future! Growing Food wars, growing water wars, Growing environmental crisis, growing future wars, I'm not a pessimist, I am a prepared realist!