News / Asia

High Food Prices in Asia-Pacific Keep 19 Million in Poverty

A man unloads sacks of agricultural products in a public market in suburban Quezon City north of Manila, Philippines, March 10, 2011
A man unloads sacks of agricultural products in a public market in suburban Quezon City north of Manila, Philippines, March 10, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +
Daniel Schearf

Nearly 20 million people in the Asia-Pacific region were kept in poverty last year by rising food prices, according to a U.N. study.  The United Nations says governments in the region need to better control inflation or else millions more people could be impoverished.  

The study says high food prices prevented 19.4-million people in the Asia Pacific from escaping poverty.

The U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok says bad weather in key food-producing countries led to a spike in some prices compared to last year.

The United Nations says the region’s poor spend up to 70 percent of their income on food and that inflation affects them the most.

The cost for wheat jumped by nearly 80 percent in the past year, while cooking oil is up by 65 percent.

U.N. ESCAP Chief Economist Nagesh Kumar says if prices continue to rise, millions more people could be forced into poverty.

"Depending upon how much is the price rise, we estimate that between 10- to 42-million people will be affected in 2011, who are either to be pushed into poverty or prevented to get out of poverty,” Kumar said. “So, this is becoming a serious concern."

The retail price of rice, Asia’s main staple, is up in Bangladesh by 33 percent and in China and Indonesia by 23 percent.  But the region’s major producers, Thailand and Vietnam, are having good harvests that are expected to keep rice prices steady.

Nonetheless, Kumar says governments in the region need to act to prevent food prices from getting out of control.

"You know countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and even in Southeast Asia some countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, are vulnerable,” he added. “So, we need to really pay attention in these countries that food prices are restrained as much as possible then side-by-side we pay attention to enhancing the agriculture productivity."

To rein in food prices, U.N. ESCAP says in the short term countries can tighten monetary policy, lower taxes and tariffs, and free up imports while raising food stocks.

The United Nations says countries also need to reverse a neglect of investment in agriculture, conversion of some cereals into bio-fuels, and speculative investment.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid