The doubling of food prices over the past three years could push 100 million people in low-income countries further into poverty, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday. The UN leader’s words echo the sentiments of Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, who has called for an injection of $500 million in emergency aid. The UN secretary-general also urged countries to begin long-term efforts to increase the production of food.


Story Transcript

April 15, 2008

BAN KI-MOON, SECRETARY-GENERAL, THE UNITED NATIONS: The rapidly escalating crisis of food availability around the world has reached emergency proportions. The World Bank has estimated that the doubling of food prices over the last three years could push 100 million people in low-income countries deeper into poverty.

VOICE OF ZAA NKWETA, PRESENTER: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for short-term emergency measures in many regions to meet urgent food needs and avoid starvation, adding that long-term efforts to increase food grain production are also necessary. The secretary-general’s statements echoed World Bank president Robert Zoellick’s appeal to governments on Sunday to quickly provide the UN World Food Programme with US$500 million in emergency aid. Also responding to Zoellick’s appeal, US President George W. Bush ordered on Monday the release of US$200 million in emergency aid to help nations where surging food prices have brought worse hunger and sparked violent protest.

April 15, 2008

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has raised this issue with his national security advisors and has asked that the State Department and USAID look at what can be done in the near term. And then, over the long run, the source problems will need to be identified, the source of where the food is, so that there is a long-term plan in place that helps take care of the world’s poor and hungry.

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