“High food prices are hunger’s new best friend. We already have conflict, climate and COVID-19 working together to push more people into hunger and misery. Now food prices have joined the deadly trio,” said Arif Husain, Chief Economist at the World Food Programme (WFP). This shows how the spiralling food crisis will deprive millions of families across the world with nothing to eat.
The WFP’s latest Market Monitor points, which provide information on price changes, revealed that the world is going to see an increased food price that would hit millions dearly.
FOOD PRICE INFLATION
The WFP said that the countries more likely to experience high food price inflation are those that depend on imports for food, those where climatic or conflict shocks could disrupt local food production, and those suffering from macro-economic fragility. It noted that Middle East would witness some of the highest price increases. The World Food Agency also noted that currency depreciation in some countries also shot up local food prices.
As per various reports, a total of 270 million people are estimated to be acutely food insecure or at high risk in 2021. This is a 74 per cent jump from 2020, and is driven by conflict, economic shocks, natural disasters, socio-economic fallout from COVID-19. Apart from this, skyrocketing of food prices also makes the situation worse, the WFP said.
TROUBLE FOR FAMILIES
The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation. Its assistance in food providing could make a big difference between life or death for millions facing hunger. The hike in food price directly affects the people it serves and affects millions of families whose incomes have been decimated by the pandemic.
The World Bank has already warned that the crisis would push as many as 97 million people worldwide into poverty by the end of the year. Husain said that a family that spends two thirds of the income on food, then the price hike of food would spell trouble.
The WFP also noted the price hike affected its work. First, it said that the price hike led to an increase of the number of people who need help. Apart from this, the cost of commodities for food assistance operations also increased, with the agency paying more. The WFP said that they hoped to reach nearly 140 million people worldwide this year, its biggest operation ever.