The problem of hunger becomes more and more serious for millions of people around the world. A recent report from the World Bank said that food prices had grown by 33 percent since July 2010 and neared the peak level of 2008. The situation with food reserves in the world remains alarming, whereas domestic prices continue to fluctuate. The situation remains so unstable largely because of natural disasters, which affect the dynamics of food prices directly.
Food prices fluctuate multidirectionally. The prices on maize, for instance, increased by 100% in some countries and dropped by 19 percent in other territories. According to the report from the World Bank, average prices on maize increased by 84 percent last year, on sugar - by 62 percent, on wheat - by 55 percent and on soy oil - by 47 percent. The prices on crude went herewith 45 percent up, RIA Novosti reports.
Africa is especially vulnerable at this point. Over 12 million people suffer from the shortage of food on the continent. The prices on essential foodstuffs in the region - cereals and maize - exceed the maximum of 2008 nowadays. Food prices in Africa grow because of droughts and conflicts. Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti face the most serious food crisis in 50 years, RBC says.
Over 3.6 million people are on the verge of death, and it is about time the international community should do something about it, WB President Robert Zoellick said. "Persistently high food prices and low food stocks indicate that we're still in the danger zone, with the most vulnerable people the least able to cope," he said in a statement. "Vigilance is vital given the uncertainties and volatility that exists today. There is no cushion." he added.
According to experts' estimates, the amount of undernourished people in the world will exceed one billion this year. Last year, the figure was lower - 925 million.
In 2008, growing food prices triggered massive riots in several countries. According to the WB, as many as 125 million people were living in extreme poverty three years ago. The report from the WB said that food prices had grown by 27 percent during the recent year.
Nevertheless, several countries do not support the state regulation of food prices. French officials support both the establishment of strict control over profiteers and food export restrictions. Brazil also supports the natural recovery of the food market. Some experts believe that the recent riots in Egypt were connected with the drought in Russia in the summer of 2010, which led to the sharp rise in world prices on grains.
"Stock exchange prices on grains are expected to grow because of the high global export demand and because of poor harvests in exporting states. A cold winter in the USA, floods in Canada and Australia, as well as the drought in Argentina raise most serious concerns with market members. The prices on sugar remain on a very high level too - this level of close to the maximum in over a decade. Largest exporters of sugar - India and Mexico - also suffer from bad weather conditions," Anton Safonov, an analyst with Investcafe said.
Many experts believe that mankind is standing on the brink of another world war for oil, food and fresh water. The number of starving people will continue to grow in the world as the problems of global economy get more and more serious.
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