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Food: Prices

International Development written question – answered on 8th May 2008.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour, Stroud

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations he has received on rising food prices internationally, with particular reference to staples such as rice; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Douglas Alexander Douglas Alexander The Secretary of State for International Development

Last month, the World Food Programme (WFP) launched an appeal for an additional $500 million to meet the increased costs of this year's programmes—the cost of rice has now risen to over $1,000 a tonne.

The UK Government are very concerned about the effect on developing countries, where the poorest can spend as much as 90 per cent. of their income on food. There are already 850 million people who don't get enough to eat, and as prices rise these numbers will increase. That is why the Government announced a £455 million aid package to provide assistance to those hardest hit and has taken the lead by calling for the international community to urgently develop a co-ordinated strategy to tackle this critical problem.

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