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Monday, April 7, 2008

Soaring Global Food Prices

The rising cost of food is affecting millions of families who struggle to stretch their meagre earnings. Among the poorest worldwide the bottom has already fallen out. What can be done? Who will address this ethical concern?

The Christian Science Monitor reports on the shock of rising food prices around the world.

Americans may fret that Wheat Thins cost 15 percent more than a year ago but in poor nations, such price hikes aren't taken lightly. In Ivory Coast last week, women rioted against higher food costs, leaving one person dead.

In Haiti, four people were killed in protests last week over a 50 percent rise in the cost of food staples in the past year. From Egypt to Vietnam, price rises of 40 percent or more for rice, wheat, and corn are stirring unrest and forcing governments to take drastic steps, such as blocking grain exports and arresting farmers who hoard surpluses.

The UN International Fund for Agriculture predicts food riots will become common on the world scene for at least a year. The World Bank says 33 countries face unrest from higher prices in both food and energy.

Even in grain-rich America, wholesale food prices are rising at a rate not seen in 27 years. The most acute "ag-flation," however, is in Asia and Africa, where food costs take up a higher proportion of family income. And the face of hunger is now seen more in cities as a historic shift takes place with more than half of the world's population soon to be living in or near urban areas.

Read it all.

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