Rise in food prices sparks unrest
Sub-Saharan Africa has been particularly hard hit by the rising global food costs.
As international food prices have shot skyward, impoverished nations in Africa have been particularly hard hit. If the situation continues to deteriorate amid political turmoil and sharp inflation, unrest could deepen.Skip to next paragraph
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The World Food Program (WFP) says staple food prices have risen by as much as 40 percent in six months across parts of Africa. The Associated Press reports on the popular unrest in reaction to the increase:
The need for stable food supplies in Africa is especially serious, as lack of food in urban centers has driven hungry populations to riot. In February, riots hit Burkina Faso. Riots over food and fuel prices have also hit Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal in the past few months.
One person was killed and at least 10 others injured on Tuesday as security forces dispersed demonstrations across the economic capital, Abidjan.
Anti-riot police fired in the air and used tear gas in an attempt to disperse predominantly female demonstrators who had set up barricades, burned tyres and closed major roads.
The United Nations Development Programme estimates that nearly 49 per cent of Ivory Coast's 19 million people live below the poverty threshold of $2 a day.
"Before you could manage with 5,000 CFA a week," Margueritte Ahoule, a protester in her 60s, said.
"Now 5,000 francs doesn't feed a family for two days."
On Wednesday, the Ivory Coast government announced emergency measures to cut food prices, reports IRIN, the press service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
On the brink of a food crisis, India on Monday night banned the export of non-Basmati rice and reduced import duties on edible oils.
As the BBC reports, the Indian decision could potentially spark further price increases that could worsen the international situation:
The price for exports of aromatic basmati rice has also been raised to $1,200 per tonne to discourage exports.
The move could have an impact on rice prices globally as the country is the third largest exporter of the grain – a staple food in many countries.