Millions of children in the world’s poorest countries are at risk from rising global food prices which are teetering dangerously close to their highest level in history reports Save the Children.
Save the Children’s new report, A High Price to Pay, released on World Food Day, finds factors like climate change, population growth, and land being given over to biofuel production, are contributing to sharply rising and volatile prices.
The results are that nutritious food is being put beyond the reach of poor families and children who are already not getting enough of the right food.
Our research shows 36 countries, home to more than 90% of the world’s malnourished children, are being hit hardest by the effects of the food price rises.
The poorest households can already spend up to 80% of their income on food – but as prices rise, families are being forced to cut back on items – like meat, vegetables, lentils or milk – which help children grow and thrive.
We want the Prime Minister to use Britain’s G8 presidency in 2013 to urge world leaders to act so that families in the poorest countries can afford the food their children need.
We’re calling on world leaders to urgently scale up funding for agricultural work as well as for the stockpiling of reserves of food in high risk areas. We also want countries, particularly Russia, not to set export bans which would raise prices further.
Justin Forsyth, our chief executive, said it was essential world leaders take action: “The slow progress globally on malnutrition – still the underlying cause of a third of child deaths – could be at risk if we don’t act to help the poorest families.”
Mr Forsyth continued: “Record food prices in 2011 put an additional 400,000 children’s lives at risk and led to food riots globally. Without the right food, children can suffer chronic malnutrition, growing up permanently physically and mentally impaired. The world must wake up to this crisis and urgently move to protect children.”
Global food prices have risen sharply recently- in July this year maize and wheat increased by 25% globally – but rises are much higher in some developing world countries.
In Malawi, maize increased by 174%, in Mozambique by 129% and by 52% in Sudan between July 2011 and July 2012.
To highlight the impact of food shortages on children, we’re hosting the World Marathon Challenge around the globe.
20,000 children from over 40 countries globally and 500 schools will compete against each other to try and smash Patrick Makau’s world record of 2 hours, 3 minutes and 38 seconds.
Running from Kirklees to Iambus in Kenya, from Madrid to Mali the children taking part are all doing it to raise awareness of hungry children worldwide.