News / Asia

Urgent Measures Needed on Food Prices in Asia, Warns UN

A Cambodian man carries rice at a paddy rice farm in Bekpeang village, Kampong Cham province (FILE).
A Cambodian man carries rice at a paddy rice farm in Bekpeang village, Kampong Cham province (FILE).
TEXT SIZE - +

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says food prices in Asia remain high despite a brief drop in April.

According to the FAO, the retail cost of wheat and rice in Asia declined slightly last month, the first drop in nine months.

The price of rice, Asia’s staple, dropped two percent in Cambodia and Sri Lanka, and about half a percent in Bangladesh, it says. In India, the price of wheat declined seven percent.

The oil factor

But the FAO attributed the fall in food costs to a brief, sharp drop in the price of crude oil.

Despite the price drop in some places, the cost of rice from one year ago is still higher by 29 percent in Bangladesh, 25 percent in China and 40 percent in Vietnam and Laos.

The FAO's representative for the Asia-Pacific region, Hiroyuki Konuma, told reporters Wednesday that food prices across the region remain high and are hurting the poor most.

“So, negative impact of the retail price hike of food commodities, particularly of staple food like rice and wheat, it’s affecting the poor households which spend as much as 70 percent of their income for food,” Konuma said.

World food prices hit a record high in February as the cost of crude oil was driven up by political instability in the Middle East and North Africa.

The price of oil is closely linked to the price of food through transportation and processing costs.

Precautions

Konuma says countries need to take urgent precautions to prevent a repeat of the 2008 food price crisis when costs of some staples doubled in a matter of months. He recommends countries establish social security nets for the poor and emergency food reserves.

“And, improving the availability of food security and market information. This is one of the factors that create unnecessary speculation and also panic buying,” he said.

The FAO expects about a two percent increase in rice production in 2011 but a slight decline in wheat production.

Despite rising prices, Konuma said food production is expected to meet global market demand but is still falling short of the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goal of halving the hunger rate by 2015.

The World Bank says since October rising food prices have pushed more than 40 million people into extreme poverty.

You May Like

'Exceptionally Lucky' US Boy Survives Flight in Wheel Well

The boy was unconscious for most of the flight, and appeared to be unharmed after enduring the extremely cold temperatures and lack of oxygen More

US Anti-Corruption Law Snags Major Tech Company

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in December, 1977 More

Cameron Criticized for Calling UK 'Christian Country'

Letter from scientists, academics and writers says the prime minister is fostering division by repeatedly referring to England as a 'Christian country' 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid