For the world's poorest people, the quantity and quality of food are increasingly at risk. Wholesale prices of basic foods are 21% higher now than in 2005, with grain surging more than 30%. What's more, the total volume of food delivered by US-funded groups has declined 52% in the last 5 years, reports the Christian Science Monitor.
The sharp rise in costs has numerous causes: the increasing use of grains as biofuels; the demand for higher-value food as millions of Chinese and Indians emerge from poverty; low inventories worldwide, and climbing oil prices, which make fertilizer, refrigeration, and transportation more costly. Aid groups also say they have shrinking cushions to allow for natural disasters such as earthquakes.