I’ve been meaning to write about this for a long time, because it’s one of the most underreported stories (in my opinion) of the year.
The issue is world hunger.
Now, for those uninformed, you probably are aware that this is a constant problem. But the problem of world hunger NOW is absolutely alarming.
The reason for the alarm? Rising food prices. They are absolutely skyrocketing.
Take, for example, the price of wheat, a worldwide staple of diet:
The same hold true for corn:
As well as rice, which is up 74%.
This has created a crisis with the World Food Bank. Says Robert Zoelick, President of the World Food Bank:
"In Bangladesh a two-kilogram bag of rice … now consumes about half of the daily income of a poor family," he said. "The price of a loaf of bread … has more than doubled. Poor people in Yemen are now spending more than a quarter of their incomes just on bread."
What’s driving up the prices? Droughts, financial market speculators, and increased demand. With corn, a lot of it is being channeled into making biofuels such as ethanol. World grain stocks are at record lows and next year’s prices depend on the success of the next harvest in the northern hemisphere. And it doesn’t look good.
The food crisis is so bad, that it is even affecting us here in the prosperous United States. Just recently, Sam’s Club (Walmart) and Costco decided to limit the amount of bulk rice that individuals can buy, something they have never had to do before. That’s right — there’s a run on rice, as people clamor to stock up on it, and both chains are concerned about their ability to supply it in the future.
Could we all be the next Joads?
So, what can you do? Educate yourself. Donate. Support local activities. It’s important.