Food prices ‘help tip 75 million into hunger’

Rising food prices are partly to blame for adding 75 million more people to the ranks of the world’s hungry in 2007 and lifting the global figure to roughly 925 million, the UN’s food agency says.

Jacques Diouf, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), presented the figure to Italy’s parliament ahead of the release of an official report on Thursday.

The latest data further distances the international community from reaching UN Millennium Development Goals that include halving hunger and poverty by 2015.

Diouf estimated that 850 million people were hungry before the 2007-2008 spike in food prices, which sparked widespread protests and even riots in the most affected nations.

The FAO hosted a food crisis summit in Rome in June to discuss ways to combat high food prices, blamed on poor harvests, high oil costs, biofuels and rising demand for basic staple crops, especially from fast-growing Asian countries.

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