Ethiopia’s food crisis tops agenda on final day of UN humanitarian chief’s visit

September 4th, 2008 | by addis portal |

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) — Rising food costs in Ethiopia, where prices have surged up to 500 percent over the last year, was the focus of the final day of the UN humanitarian chief’s visit to the country.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes chaired a meeting Wednesday in Addis Ababa with the head of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, World Bank representatives, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations on the crisis.Skyrocketing food prices, combined with drought, have left some4.6 million people in need of food aid.”

Ethiopia presents a glaring example of the challenges posed by rising food prices,” said Holmes, who was wrapping his three-day visit to the African country.He noted that prices have increased up to 500 percent in some parts of the country over the past year. Wheat and maize prices, for example, have risen an estimated 171 percent.

The price surge has been driven by a number of factors, including a growth in demand, as well as a drop in crop production due to droughts.”

Given the complexity of issues, there is a need for strong partnership among all relevant stakeholders to ensure the most comprehensive and coordinated policies to respond to both the challenges and opportunities resulting from food price rises,” he added. Editor: Sun Yunlong

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