There's new information today on the effects of soaring food
prices around the world. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says rising
prices have "plunged an additional 75 million people below the hunger
threshold." The FAO says that means there are now 923 million undernourished
FAO economist Kostas Stamoulis says Africa is
bearing the brunt of the problem.
"The proportion of people in the total population
who suffer from hunger remains the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, where one in
three people are estimated to be chronically hungry in 2003 to 2005. Now,
coming to Africa, in particular, the overall number of undernourished in the
region increased by 43 million from 169 (million) to 212 million between 1992
and 2003-2005. However, there were several countries in sub-Saharan Africa
which did manage to reduce the proportion of hungry people in their
population," he says.
explains who is the hardest hit.
"Our estimates show that the poorest, the
landless and the female-headed households seem to be the categories of people
in the developing countries that are hurt most by the high food prices," he
more, farmers are hard hit because it's costing more to produce food. Some
fertilizers are now too expensive for many farmers.
The FAO economist says unless hunger is tackled,
it will be very difficult to achieve many Millennium Development Goals.
"Hunger is a cause of poverty; it's a problem in
itself, and not just a consequence of poverty. Unless we address hunger
directly, that will affect negatively every effort to reduce income poverty. We
have shown through our work that the effect of hunger on people's earnings,
ability to earn (an) income, and the economic growth of entire countries is
substantial," he says.
Stamoulis also says hunger makes child
mortality rates rise and makes it more difficult for children to learn in