Mercy Corps, a global relief and development organization based in Portland, announced today that it has established a special fund, called the Global Food Crisis Fund, to combat the negative impact that rising food prices are having on the world's poor.
The Global Food Crisis Fund will raise and distribute funds to countries where Mercy Corps works and people have been most severely impacted by rising food prices.
"The prices of basics like wheat, rice and corn have shot up significantly," said Penelope Anderson, Mercy Corps' director of food security. "For many people, this will mean cutting down from two meals to one, or making desperate choices between food or health care or education for their children."
Mercy Corps said the crisis has been brought on by many factors: drought and other climate-related problems that cut harvests; the rise of the middle class in India and China and an increased demand for food, especially meat; the diversion of crops from food production to biofuels; higher fuel prices; declining investments in agricultural productivity; and export bans that have been instituted in some major grain-producing nations.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the world's poorest countries can expect the cost of imported food to rise 56 percent, and 37 countries face food crises and consequences like malnourishment, starvation and civil unrest.