Hunger in the news
2 February 2009
Fears over global hunger are back, and this time there are two drivers—not only volatile commodity prices, but also job losses and plunging incomes around the world. A study released last week by the International Labor Organization predicted that if current economic conditions continue through the new year, 200 million workers, mostly in developing countries, will be pushed into extreme poverty by loss of jobs or lowered wages. "Our message is realistic, not alarmist," says ILO Director-general Juan Somavia. "We are now facing a global jobs crisis." And, by proxy, a potential food crisis. Even though agricultural commodity prices are down from their peak last summer, hunger is likely to increase this year in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, which have the world's harshest labor markets and highest hunger levels, as well as in the Caribbean and parts of Central Asia. [...] A Chatham House report released last week notes that even the recent fall from peak prices is only temporary, as future supplies are likely to be constrained in part by a continuing lack of investment in agriculture.