World Bank President Robert Zoellick has said global food prices have reached dangerous levels and urged this week's Group of 20 meeting to take up the issue.
On Tuesday, the World Bank said in a report that its food price index rose by 15 percent in the 3 months through January. Wheat prices more than doubled over the last 6 months and corn prices surged by 73 percent.
Zoellick said in a telephone interview that higher food prices have pushed 44 million people into extreme poverty.
He said the issue should be discussed at a G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors which starts on Friday in Paris.
The World Bank attributes the price increases to a jump in demand in emerging countries where people's living standards are on the rise.
It also points to abnormal weather conditions in producing nations and export restrictions in some countries.
The bank calls on countries to abolish export restraints and invest in schemes to increase crop yields.
Wed, 16 Feb 2011 10:14:00 +0900(JST)