Developing Countries Paying More For Food, WFP Executive Director Says

Despite drops in commodity market prices due to the global economic downturn, “[m]ost of the developing world is paying more for food,” and the price of food staples in developing countries has risen, Josette Sheeran, executive director of the U.N. World Food Program (WFP), said Monday, the Associated Press reports. “The food crisis is not over. We have an anomaly happening where on global, big markets, the prices are down, but for 80 percent of commodities in the developing world, prices are higher today than they were a year ago, and the prices a year ago were double what they were the year before that,” she said. “What it means is for about 80 percent of the developing world, people can afford one third as much food today as they could two or three years ago.” 

Sheeran noted that 200 million people have joined “the ranks of the hungry” over the past two years. “She said the number of ‘urgently hungry’ had now reached its highest ever – 1.02 billion,” the AP writes. She also highlighted how natural disasters can threaten food security.

On Monday, Sheeran signed a $130 million “four-year aid agreement with the Australian government,” which includes funds “to provide school meals in Southeast Asia, Africa and possibly South America and will add to the WFP’s overall budget for global food aid,” the news service reports (McGuirk, 10/26).

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