Volatile food prices keep people poor in the Pacific

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) begins its 9th South West Pacific Ministers of Agriculture Meeting on 5 April in the Kingdom of Tonga, with food security and volatile food prices as key issues of discussion

Participants will discuss the cause and impacts of high global price transfers, and appropriate policy actions to take.

Ministerial-level officials from 15 South West Pacific countries are expected to attend, along with representatives from international and regional development partners in the South West Pacific region.

Volatile food prices prevented more than 19 million people in the Asia-Pacific region from lifting themselves out of poverty last year, the United Nations said in a new study released last week. The report warned that soaring food and fuel inflation will keep large sections of the region’s population below the poverty threshold.

The poorest of those affected by high food prices spend 75 percent of their income on food

U.N. ESCAP Chief Economist Nagesh Kumar says if prices continue to rise, millions more people could be forced into poverty. “Depending upon how much is the price rise, we estimate that between 10- to 42-million people will be affected in 2011, who are either to be pushed into poverty or prevented to get out of poverty,” Kumar said. “So, this is becoming a serious concern.”

Voice of America
UN News Centre

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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