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World Bank President Raises Concerns About Volatile World Food Prices’ Impact On Poverty

“World Bank President Robert Zoellick on Thursday warned of rising food inflation and high oil prices resulting from political turmoil in the Middle East as risks to world growth, as they threaten to push more people into poverty,” the Wall Street Journal’s “Dispatch” blog reports. 

“We are at a tipping point in terms of food prices,” Zoellick said at a news conference to open the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington (Boschat, 4/14). “Zoellick cited a new World Bank study that showed that another 10 percent increase in global food prices could drive an additional 10 million people into extreme poverty,” the Associated Press writes. Currently, there are 1.2 billion people worldwide who live on less than $1.25 per day (4/14).

Food prices are at “a tipping point,” he said, noting they have risen 36 percent over the last year, The Telegraph reports (Aldrick, 4/14). “More poor people are suffering and more people could become poor because of high and volatile food prices,” Zoellick said. “We have to put food first and protect the poor and vulnerable, who spend most of their money on food,” he added, according to a World Bank press release (4/14).

“Zoellick warned countries not to impose export bans on food, a policy that increases the volatility of the global price, and hoped a new code of conduct would prevent any bans applying to humanitarian supplies such as the World Food Programme,” the Financial Times reports (Giles, 4/14).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.