Point of View // 02.15.2012

High Food Prices and Child Malnutrition

Article by Abena A-T

High food prices are now leading to high cases of malnutrition as most families have not increased increases in income and thus can’t afford to buy enough food. In September of last year, a BBC article stated that the 2008 global food crisis triggered mass protests and riots in some developing countries. Also according to the BBC, high food prices was one of the factors driving the protests in Arab countries in 2011 (Food Prices Stay Near Record High says UN agency, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14835265, September 8th 2011). The FAO’s food index was up by 26% in August 2011 compared to August 2010.

Climate change is one force playing a role in higher food prices. For example, hotter than normal weather in the U.S. in 2011 damaged maize crops causing cereal prices to increase.

Save the Children carried out surveys in India, Bangladesh, Peru, Pakistan and Nigeria and reported that children in one out of six families were dropping out of school to earn money to buy food. This is a profound step back from steps made to reach the millennium development goals 1c: Halve between 1990 and 2015 the proportion of people who suffer from hunger; and 2A: Ensure that by 2015, boys and girls everywhere will be able to complete

The African continent depends largely on income from agricultural exports. How are these changes in climate affecting our crops and how are rising food prices impacting our economies and health? Now is a time to be to be innovative and develop long-term vision for food production, preservation and distribution. We also need to educate ourselves on the impacts of climate change in order to find ways to be resilient to them.

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