Rising world food prices: impact on the poor

The drastic rise in world food prices has crucial implications for the livelihoods of the poor by placing their food security and nutrition at high risk. While the recent price developments can help reduce urban?rural income gaps, most poor households in rural areas will be adversely affected because they are net buyers of food. In response to surging food prices, the poor tend to shift to even less-balanced diets, with adverse impacts on health in the short and long run. The combination of rapid price increases, risky price volatility, and inappropriate policy responses also poses threats for free trade and political stability in many countries. To mitigate the growing burden for the poor, a dual strategy is needed: a science and technology initiative at the global level to address the long-run problem, and a comprehensive social protection and food and nutrition initiative at the national level to address the short- and medium-run problems.

Professor Dr. Joachim von Braun
Director General
International Food Policy
Research Institute
Washington D.C., USA