2008: The year of global food crisis .By Junaid Ahmed

IT IS the new face of hunger. A perfect storm of food scarcity, global warming, rocketing oil prices and the world population explosion is plunging humanity into the biggest crisis of the 21st century by pushing up food prices and spreading hunger and poverty from rural areas into cities. Millions more of the world’s most vulnerable people are facing starvation as food shortages loom and crop prices spiral ever upwards.
More than 73 million people in 78 countries that depend on food handouts from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are facing reduced rations this year. The increasing scarcity of food is the biggest crisis looming for the world, according to WFP officials. The global food prices have risen by 75% since 2000, while wheat prices have increased by 200%. The cost of other staples such as rice and soya bean has also hit record highs, while corn is at its most expensive in 12 years. The increasing cost of grains is also pushing up the price of meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products. The WFP estimates it needs an additional $500 million to keep feeding the 73 million people in Africa, Asia and Central America who require its help.
High prices have already prompted a string of food protests around the world, with tortilla riots in Mexico, disputes over food rationing in West Bengal and protests over grain prices in Senegal, Mauritania and other parts of Africa. In Yemen, children have marched to highlight their hunger, .Similarly, in Pakistan many people committed suicide, the major reason behind directly or indirectly are the rise in Food prices. More, Pakistan economy is Agro based; however, still we are facing such huge food crisis. Many riots take placed especially in Hyderabad, Multan, Attock and Lahore.
The World Bank predicts global demand for food will double by 2030. This is partly because the world’s population is expected to grow by three billion by 2050, but that is only one of many interlocking causes. Last year Australia experienced its worst drought for over a century, and saw its wheat crop shrink by 60%. Furthermore, high oil prices are also one of the most serious causes behind this crisis because it has increased the cost of production and consequently burden come on the shoulder of a common man. If prices keep rising, more and more people around the globe will be unable to afford the food they need to stay alive, and without help they will become desperate and angry. More food riots will flare up, governments will totter and millions could die
Despite of all facts and figures, there are some effective measures that can benefit all. For instance, western societies and developed countries should respond to the food crisis with the same speed and resolution which they are applying to the financial crisis. In addition, world leaders much reform the global system of agriculture production and trade. Subsides and interest free loan must be given to the farmers as it increases their motivation and give them incentive to work more.
This is a wake-up call. The choices we make now will determine whether we can feed ourselves in the future. If we get it right we can have a thriving food economy.


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