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EU, UN Warn Food Shortages Could Affect World's Poor


Officials at the United Nations and the European Union are expressing concern about the impact of rising food prices, saying the world's poorest people could suffer the most.

EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel said Tuesday that the spike in world food prices may trigger what he called an "economic and humanitarian tsnunami" in Africa.

He said the EU plans to increase its emergency food aid to Africa and will nearly double its funding for agricultural and rural development in the continent's poorest nations to almost $2 billion.

Earlier, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, urged donors to respond to the World Food Program's call for additional funding. He said rising food prices and the social unrest they can trigger are the biggest threat to progressive governments in the developing world.

In March, the WFP warned it faces a $500 million shortfall and could be forced to cut food rations to millions of people.

World Food Program projects help feed about 73 million people in 78 countries, including three million people a day in Sudan's Darfur region alone. The projects rely entirely on voluntary contributions.

The price of rice hit another record high on Monday, going as high as $21 for about 45 kilograms.

Some major rice exporting nations like China, Egypt, Vietnam, and India have curbed export sales this year to make sure they have adequate domestic supplies.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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