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Emerging Food Crisis

Posted by feww on April 10, 2008

Since February 2008, riots and protests concerning rising food prices or food shortages have been reported in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cameroon, Egypt, El Salvador, Haiti, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique, Philippines Senegal, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

According to AFP Report: “Analysts have said economic misery in crushingly-poor Myanmar was a force behind protests which drew up to 100,000 people into the streets of the military-ruled country last year.”

Poorer countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia and in which 60-70 percent of the income is spent on food are particularly hard hit by soaring food prices.

“In the Philippines, one of the world’s biggest importers of rice, the government deployed troops last week to deliver grain to poor areas of the capital Manila amid worries about shortages.”

Grain prizes have risen by 42 percent and dairy products 80 percent since2007. The head of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said: “There is a risk that this unrest will spread in countries where 50 to 60 percent of income goes to food . . .”

Elsewhere, soaring food prices are leading to political instability and humanitarian crisis:

In China, the price of pork, their staple diet, has risen by more than 60 percent in the last 12 months.

In Vietnam, consumer prices rose by about 17 percent (YoY) in the first quarter of 2008. Up to 20,000 workers at a Vietnamese shoe factory opted for a a two-day strike last week “because of the increase in prices which has hit people hard recently,” according to union official Nguyen Thi Dung.

In Singapore, one of Asia’s wealthiest countries, ten people were arrested by police last month for holding a rally, without a permit, to protest rising living costs.

Rising food (and fuel) prices have triggered protests also in India, Malaysia and Pakistan causing seismic shifts in political and social policies.

The World Bank anticipated last week “heightening political tensions” throughout Asia should “rising inflation stalls poverty reduction measures.”

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6 Responses to “Emerging Food Crisis”

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