Why Are So Many Fighting For Food?

Food prices are rising around the world. In an interview with ABC News, Gregory Barrow, senior public affairs officer at the World Food Program (WFP), said that "the WFP has identified a number of countries that have been badly affected, and we have identified a type of country that's most likely to suffer from rising food prices."

""The kind of country to be worst-affected is a country which depends on importing its food to meet its people's needs, it is likely to have witnessed dramatic inflation recently, and where individuals typically spend a significant portion of their income, i.e. 50 percent or more, on food."

According to Barrow, this definition "would cover a number of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as countries in Asia, like Bangladesh and Pakistan."



ABC News takes a look at some of the countries most badly hit by the growing food crisis.


The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti has seen some of the worst food-related riots in recent months, with protestors taking to the streets, burning tires and looting shops. As the vast majority of Haiti's population struggles to get by on less than $2 a day, the rising prices of staple food items like rice and beans have left many Haitians angry with the government for not reducing taxes on foodstuffs.


President Rene Preval recently acknowledged that the country's problems were related to its dependence on imported rice and promised to boost food production. But opposition leaders immediately attacked him for doing little to address immediately the issue of food shortages.

Rising fuel costs have also made transportation of foodstuffs increasingly expensive, making the current global crisis especially painful for this nation, which already suffers from extreme poverty. On Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked donors to provide emergency aid to Haiti.

The current unrest has provoked the U.S. Coast Guard to keep a careful eye on Haiti, in case of a migrant exodus to American shores.


For the more than 600 million people who work in agriculture here, for the more than 600 million farmers and their families who live on less than $2 a day, it is the difference between cooking with oil and barely eating anything.

Wholesale inflation hit its highest level here in three years, and for 1.1 billion Indians, that means that fruits and vegetable prices have risen 20 percent in just the last month -- mostly because of lack of irrigation and unseasonably early rainfall. To try and tame inflation, the government relaxed import duties on oils and banned exports on all but the most expensive rice.

But India is as much part of the problem as it is victim. This country is the second-largest rice producer in the world and is now exporting a fraction of what it used to, helping driving rice prices up in Asia and around the world.

And there have never been more Indians -- the country adds 20 million each year -- and they have never been richer, demanding more and more food, especially meat, which takes more wheat to produce.

The more that the new global giants China and India eat, the higher your food prices will go.


In Nakuru, Kenya, the price of kales, the staple vegetable, has doubled in the last three months.

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