Rising Global Food Prices Alarm UN





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Published on Sep 24, 2010

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization holds an emergency meeting, as rising global food prices leave nearly one billion undernourished.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation will hold an emergency meeting to discuss rising global food prices on Friday.

Rising grain, meat, and sugar prices pose a threat to nearly one billion people who are undernourished.

The FAO estimates that 925 million people are currently undernourished - a decline from more than one billion in 2009, but still higher than before the economic crisis of 2008/2009.

In Egypt, many are learning to go without.

In downtown Cairo vegetable markets, residents complain that core parts of their diet are fast becoming luxury items.

Mervat, Egyptian]:
"It is very expensive; I'm only buying what I need, just one kilo of cucumber or tomatoes. A kilo of meat costs seventy pounds and twenty or twenty two pound for chicken, and a kilo of rotten tomatoes costs five pounds while a good one costs six pounds... so we eat cucumber and cheese."

In Russia, the price of buckwheat has more than tripled since the summer drought and poor harvest, and wheat exports have been banned until late 2011.

In some shops, buckwheat is no longer for sale, as supplies have been bought up by panicked shoppers.

A 26-year-old housewife and mother of a new baby explains that giving up buckwheat would not be easy.

[Alexandra, Housewife]:
"My husband likes buckwheat, I like buckwheat. I am actually used to eating it often since my childhood."

But despite some pockets of instability -- and violent food riots in many countries -- the FAO has said the latest bout of price rises has not brought markets closer to a repeat of the 2007/2008 price-induced food crisis.

Those meeting on Friday will hope to ensure there won't be a repeat of 2008, when food riots took place in more than 30 countries.


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