Stating that prices are 29% higher than one year ago, with increases of 15% over the past four months alone, the World Bank has issued an alarm as it notes that food costs currently are only 3% lower than the peak prices of June 2008, when food riots had erupted across the developing world.
The largest recent increases have been seen in global wheat prices, which doubled from June 2010 to January 2011, while the price of maize jumped a sharp 73%, and higher prices placed on sugar and cooking oils, as well as vegetables in China and India, and beans in some African nations.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala - Managing Director, World Bank Group (M): According to our research at the World Bank, the recent food price hikes have thrown another 44 million people into extreme poverty. I feel we've now entered a danger zone.
VOICE: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has indicated that the recent upward direction in prices has come from a combination of factors, including increased consumption of meat and dairy products, speculative trading, soil erosion, food crops used for biofuels, and decreased or failed harvests due to climate change effects such as water scarcity.
Prolonged widespread drought in northern China, for instance, caused wheat crop failures that recently sparked concerns about the impact on global food prices. If China were ever to have to import a large amount of wheat, global prices for the grain would surge and add to the strain already being felt worldwide.
Shanghai-based agriculture analyst Lief Chiang of Rabobank noted that not only China's drought, but also other disasters in late 2010 have driven up global wheat prices, such as floods in Australia, drought in Russia and an unusually early frost in Canada.
Our thanks, World Bank and United Nations for these reports alerting us to the potential crisis of escalating food prices and global food security. Let us work together to implement solutions that ensure sustainable food supplies for all who are in need.
During an October 2009 videoconference in Hong Kong, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed the interrelated issues of food production and climate change, explaining the cost-saving solution for both areas. A lot of the news today is not very good due to the effects of global warming. We hear about glaciers melting, water becoming more scarce, rising food shortages, rising food prices with over one billion people going hungry every day, and so forth. The food prices are getting higher and higher nowadays.