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The year the grains failed: Why poorer countries are scheduling 'food-free days'

12 Oct

World grain prices have risen so high that families in poorer countries are being forced to schedule “food-free days” each week, according to one of the leading experts on global agriculture.

The extreme rationing is an “an unprecedented manifestation of food stress,” according to Lester Brown, president of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, and the most respected environmental observer of food and agricultural trends.

While regional food shortages are far from uncommon, the sheer number of people in the developing world who can no longer afford to eat every day has appalled humanitarian workers.

“We have not seen this before, where a family systematically schedules days where they do not eat, when they know they can’t buy enough every day so they decide at the beginning of the week, this week we won’t eat on Wednesday or we won’t eat on Saturday,” Mr Brown said yesterday.

Quoting figures from a report commissioned by Save the Children, he said that foodless days were now a part of life for up to 24 per cent of families in India, 27 per cent in Nigeria, and 14 per cent in Peru.

The development was part of a long-term shift, he said, from a world food economy dominated by surpluses, to one dominated by scarcity.

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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Agriculture

 

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