Report: Drought threatens health of poor

Aug. 31, 2012 at 12:41 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- A World Bank Group report said drought in the United States and Eastern Europe drove food prices up sharply, "threatening the health" of millions of people.

The price of corn and wheat rose by 25 percent in July, while soybean prices rose 17 percent, the World Bank Group's Food Price Watch report said. The price of rice fell 4 percent in July as drought struck mostly the U.S. corn and wheat growing areas and similar conditions hit Eastern Europe.

Production has fallen in key wheat growing regions in the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Kazakhstan due to the dry summer.

"Food prices rose again sharply threatening the health and well-being of millions of people," said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim in a statement.

Poorer countries are the most vulnerable, the report said.

The price of maize or corn rose 113 percent in Mozambique in July, while the price of sorghum jumped 220 percent in eastern Africa. Sorghum prices rose 180 percent in Sudan, the report said.

The summer drought "turned favorable price prospects for the year upside down" for global food organizations, the report said.

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