News / Economy

World Bank Discusses High Food Prices

A giant electronic display outside the World Bank's headquarters in Washington, D.C., is tallying the number of chronically hungry people in the world today, April 2011
A giant electronic display outside the World Bank's headquarters in Washington, D.C., is tallying the number of chronically hungry people in the world today, April 2011

Multimedia

Global food prices have risen by 36 percent in the past year, according to figures released this week by the World Bank. The Bank hosted its spring meetings in Washington this week, where it called on policymakers to focus on food security. Experts say that for many developing countries, that means supporting the interests of small farmers.

Outside the World Bank's headquarters in Washington, D.C., a giant electronic display is tallying the number of chronically hungry people in the world today. As the digits tick up toward one billion, the World Bank is calling on policymakers to put food first.

A panel of experts discussed today's high food prices. World Bank sustainable development expert Inger Anderson said small farmers are at the center of the hunger problem.

"The majority of the poor farmers are small farmers. And the voice of the small farmers is not heard sufficiently. And they are actually the ones that are feeding by far the largest proportion of the world's poor."

Lindiwe Majele Sibanda with the African policy analysis group FANRPAN says small farmers face a range of challenges, especially in Africa.

"We are using seeds that are not best-placed to produce the best. The soil management practices are not applied. The water - 95 percent of our agriculture is rain-fed - which means in bad years you can harvest nothing."

Rwanda's minister of agriculture, Agnes Kalibata, was on the panel representing a country that experts praise for its commitment to agriculture. She said Rwanda has benefited from organizing small farmers into cooperatives.

"They access inputs - that's seeds, improved seeds, fertilizers. Extension, which would be extremely difficult to deliver without this consolidation. And then, technologies on planting and production. In that forum, also, farmers are able to look at opportunities of markets. To open up their minds to think about markets, which they would never have done as individual farmers," said Kalibata.

Rwanda was the first country to agree to an African Union program to commit 10 percent of its national budget to agriculture. Kalibata said that kind of political leadership is essential if governments are to succeed in reducing hunger.

"The worst form of abuse to mankind is hunger. Once we agree on that, we do the right thing by the farmer," she said.

Beyond exercising leadership, says the World Bank's Anderson, there are other things governments can do.

"Ensuring that there are the kinds of roads that can move the produce from point A to point B to market. And ensuring that there are no policies that obstruct farmers from selling their goods at the appropriate price," said Anderson.

Many factors are involved in improving small farmers' productivity, from seeds and water to transportation and access to markets. FANRPAN's Sibanda said policymakers must tackle them all.

"We cannot prioritize one over the other. There's got to be a holistic approach with the ultimate aim that food is more available," said Sibanda.

With food prices high and demand increasing, experts say the way to avert worsening hunger in the world is to put food first.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.