Afghans Facing Food Crisis

Minister pleads for wheat from international community
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2008 5:28 AM CST
Afghan women wait behind a fence for donation of food to be provided by the World Food Program (WFP) in Kabul, Afghanistan. The country's commerce minister has appealed for the international community...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Afghanistan is facing a critical food shortage and is appealing to the world to send extra wheat, the BBC reports. "The situation is serious," warned the nation's commerce minister. Afghanistan relies on food imports, and the rising price of grain on world markets is triggering a national hardship. In some places, the price of a loaf of bread has quadrupled. Unrest in Pakistan means wheat shipments from there have also been cut.

The country's violence-torn south is particularly hard hit. Fighting makes it especially difficult for aid to get through, and many local wheat farmers have switched to growing the more lucrative opium poppies. "Food prices have gone up and no one can afford to buy all the food they need," said a resident of troubled Helmand province.