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The 2011 world food and hunger crisis

Go to current food and hunger crisis articles

Queuing Malawians wait patiently for their turn at a WFP food aid distribution point in Nsanje district Photo: IRIN

Queuing Malawians wait patiently for their turn at a WFP food aid distribution point in Nsanje district Photo: IRIN

Malawi: Urban poor hit by slew of price increases due to devaluation, fuel shortages and economic mismanagement IRIN News December 19, 2011

Can the oceans continue to feed us? Renee Schoof McClatchy Newspapers November 10, 2011 See Hunger Notes special report Environment and hunger

How fear drove world rice markets insane Dan Charles NPR November 2, 2011 Food: Causes of high and fluctuating food prices IRIN News October 17, 2011 Speculation on food commodities may harm the hungry Marilyn Geewax NPR October 16, 2011

Austerity measures risk irreversible impact on children, Unicef warns. UN children's fund challenges pledges by IMF and World Bank to safeguard poor people from the worst of the global downturn  Larry Elliot guardian.co.uk September 25, 2011  

The cost of maize meal-based porridge provided by aid agencies has been going up. Photo: Manocher Degahti/IRIN

Corn and wheat prices are set to go up, FAO says IRIN News September 8, 2011  See FAO report

Pakistan: Hunger stalks millions as food insecurity grows. The cause is the rise in food prices combined with extreme poverty; food is available, but poor people can't afford enough of it to avoid hunger. Almost half of the population is food insecure, according to one estimate.  IRIN News August 5, 2011 

When food shortages mean conflict Christian Parenti Salon July 19, 2011

Kenya police tear-gas corn and fuel price protestors BBC News July 7, 2011

Amid criticism, UN food agency to elect new chief Raphael Minder New York Times June 24, 2011

G20 summit to address the world food crisis barely addresses key issues including biofuels, safety nets and trade restrictions  IRIN News June 24, 2011 

East Africa faces 'world's worst food security crisis' BBC News June 8, 2011

Feeding children has become harder for impoverished families, some of whom can no longer afford to provide a decent meal for them “We can no longer manage to offer our five children even a single decent meal. Prices are too high, I was recently laid off from my factory and now do only odd jobs, earning around Rs. 6,000 [US$70] a month. Almost the entire amount goes on buying food,” Fareed Ahmed, a textile factory worker, told IRIN. Photo: Kamila Hyat/IRIN

Feeding children has become harder for impoverished families, some of whom can no longer afford to provide a decent meal for them “We can no longer manage to offer our five children even a single decent meal. Prices are too high, I was recently laid off from my factory and now do only odd jobs, earning around Rs. 6,000 [US$70] a month. Almost the entire amount goes on buying food,” Fareed Ahmed, a textile factory worker, told IRIN. Photo: Kamila Hyat/IRIN

Pakistan: Selling children to pay off a debt IRIN News June 6, 2011

The new geopolitics of food Lester R. Brown Foreign Policy May/June 2011

Food crisis will create millions more hungry: Oxfam CBC News May 29, 2011  

Victor Valenzuela selects wheat plants for breeding at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico. Photo: Josh Haner/The New York Times

Victor Valenzuela selects wheat plants for breeding at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico. Photo: Josh Haner/The New York Times Times

A warming planet struggles to feed itself Justin Gillis New York Times June 4, 2011

 Climate-change aid to developing world difficult to track, report says Brian Vastag Washington Post May 20, 2011  

Food prices driven up by global warming, study shows. Scientists warn that farming practices must be adapted to a warmer world and rises in global population. guardian.co.uk May 5, 2011  Also see Hunger Notes special report Environment and hunger

Commodity prices fall sharply as investors sell BBC News May 5, 2011 How Goldman Sachs created the food crisis (opinion) Frederick Kaufman Foreign Policy April 27, 2010

 

An army officer on patrol in Kasangati, on the outskirts of Kampala. Unconfirmed reports on 29 April indicated three demonstrators had been shot dead Photo: Philippa Croome/IRIN

Uganda: Riots break out in Kampala after three weeks of protests against higher food prices, arrrest of opposition leader IRIN News April 29, 2011  

In Gulu town, a 42-year-old slum dweller, Christine Amony, ekes out a living by selling bananas in Gulu Town Street. She spoke to IRIN about living on one meal a day as she copes with the high cost of living. "Commodities are unaffordable as prices increase day by day. People in Kony Paco [a slum] are cutting their meals and staying hungry because the money can’t buy adequate food. I have four children and we live in Kony Paco. We have one meal of cassava and beans every day in the evening and even then the food isn’t enough. Photo: Charles Akena/IRIN 

Uganda: Christine Amony, "Finding food for the whole family is becoming a nightmare”  IRIN News April 21, 2011See Hunger Notes special report: The world food and hunger crisis

The graph shows that food prices, as well as other commodity groups such as grains, have increased to near their all-time highs reached in 2008. (M03 refers to the 3d month, April in the graph.)  Source: World Bank

The graph shows that food prices, as well as other commodity groups such as grains, have increased to near their all-time highs reached in 2008. (M03 refers to the 3d month, April in the graph.)  Source: World Bank

Corn prices double since April 2010 due in part to  increased  biofuel production resulting from higher oil prices; recent food price increases drive 44 million people into hunger, World Bank estimates IRIN News April 18, 2011 Rush to use crops as fuel raises food prices and hunger fears Elisabeth Rosenthal New York Times April 6, 2011 

Feeding the world: Will there be enough food as world population grows to nine billion? The Economist February 24, 2011 This is part one of an Economist special report on feeding the world.  Other stories include Not just calories and How much is enough?  

As food prices soar, most developed countries ignore 2009 promise to fund food security initiative Howard Schneider Washington Post February 18, 2011 Food prices pushing millions into poverty Howard Schneider Washington Post February 16, 2011  World leaders at UN summit vow to aid farmers in bid to help starving [though past record of assistance has been dismal]  Richard Owen Times Online November 16, 2009  G8 pledges to increase assistance to developing country agriculture BBC News July 10, 2009 There has been a record of overall failure of  governments to address world hunger. In spite of the 1995 World Food Summit commitment to reduce world hunger by half from 824 billion then to 412 billion by 2015, the number of hungry people has in fact increased to over 1 billion.  Two recent studies address this failure: the Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2009 by Fian International and others and Bridging the Divide by Oxfam.  See Hunger Notes special report:  Food is a human right--or is it?

Students get a hot lunch at a school in Beri, India

Students get a hot lunch at a school in Beri, India. Photo: Ben Arnoldy/Christian Science Monitor

India announces changes to its subsidies; will hand out cash to its poor Rama Lakshmi Washington Post  February 28, 2011 How India feeds 120 million kids a day Ben Arnoldy  Christian Science Monitor  February 9, 2011

Food prices pushing millions into poverty Howard Schneider Washington Post February 16, 2011

The world food crisis: Seven experts briefly give their views on causes and cures New York Times February 15, 2011

How biofuels contribute to the food crisis Tom Searchinger Washington Post February 11, 2011

 

The graph above tracks world food prices throughout the year (January to December) for 2010 and previous years.  It is an index, which means that prices are expressed as a percentage of base years, in this case the average of food prices from 2002 to 2004. Thus we can see that only in 2008 and now again in 2010 were food prices above 200 percent of what they were on average in 2002-04.  Food prices have now reached record levels, even higher than they were in 2008, the peak of the last food crisis.  Source FAO

Report: Urgent action needed to avert global hunger Pallab Ghosh BBC News January 24, 2011 Access report

The coming hunger: Record food prices put world 'in danger', says UN Sean O'Grady The Independent January 6, 2011  

The ‘food bubble’ is bursting, says Lester Brown, and biotech won’t save us Tom Philpott Grist January 12, 2011

North Korea sends SOS to world to feed its starving people Kim Sengupta The Independent February 11, 2011  

The world financial, food and hunger crisis in 2010  

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