According to the World Bank, food prices have risen 83% in the past three years. Rioting has broken out in Egypt, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Ethiopia. Troops have been deployed in Pakistan and Thailand to guard fields and warehouses. Further unrest could spread to Indonesia, Yemen, Ghana, Uzbekistan and the Philippines.
Even in the United States, food prices are rising at the fastest rate in 17 years. Requests for food assistance in the past year are up 30 percent as 28 million Americans receive food stamps – the highest level since the aid program began in the 1960s.
This perfect storm of skyrocketing prices and increased demand has left organizations combating hunger in dire need of more support. The World Food Program last month predicted its budget shortfall is more than half a billion dollars and growing. Meanwhile in the United States, "Food banks are living on the edge of catastrophe," according to America’s Second Harvest.
We must act now to address the global food crisis. Urge Congress and President Bush to increase U.S. support for domestic and international hunger relief. Furthermore, we must reassess the farm bill and American ethanol policies.