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Rising prices could force UN to cut food aid: WFP chief

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Feb 25, 2008
The United Nations agency in charge of alleviating world hunger will be forced to consider rationing food aid because of rising prices, its executive director said in an interview published Monday.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Josette Sheeran said that if World Food Programme (WFP) donors did not contribute more money, the agency would have to look at "cutting the food rations or even the number of people reached".

According to figures from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, food prices globally soared 40 percent in 2007 due to an array of factors, including rising demand, high oil prices and global warming.

"Our ability to reach people is going down just as the needs go up," she said.

Sheeran said that the problem of global hunger was changing, with "situations that were previously not urgent -- they are now."

She told the business daily that the WFP was "seeing a new face of hunger in which people are being priced out of the food market" with hunger now "affecting a wide range of countries", pointing to Indonesia, Yemen and Mexico in particular.

The WFP official added that in some developing countries, families were cutting their daily meal count from three to just one, and others were relying on one staple food.

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Biodiversity 'doomsday vault' comes to life in Arctic
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