Afghan food crisis on the rise

This video is about high food prices hitting Afghanistan.

From the Chicago Tribune in the USA:

Despair mounts in Afghan food crisis

By Kim Barker | Tribune correspondent

12:26 AM CDT, June 2, 2008

KABUL, Afghanistan — Faced with skyrocketing food prices and no job, Mohammad Daud decided he had suffered enough. The 27-year-old swallowed 100 sleeping pills and died.

His decision late last month reflects panic in this war-torn country over the price of food, especially wheat, the staple of the Afghan diet. Afghanistan, landlocked and drought-ridden, depends on aid and food imports to survive, and the world’s food crisis has hit hard.

“He became so disappointed, he killed himself,” said Shuja Ullah, Daud’s brother-in-law, who said Daud took care of his mother, his 11-year-old son and the four orphans of his two late brothers. “If he had food, why would he kill himself? He wouldn’t. He could not afford to buy food for his family. Everyone felt so bad for him. But the government didn’t.”

Few countries have suffered from the global squeeze on food like Afghanistan, one of the world’s poorest nations, where most of the agricultural land is devoted to poppies. …

Flour prices in Afghanistan have tripled since 2007. The cost of 220 pounds of flour —enough to feed Daud’s family for a month—has risen to about $88. That’s almost four times what it would cost in Pakistan. Most Afghan government employees earn about $100 a month.

From bad to worse

Across Afghanistan, the tragic stories are mounting. Teachers at one high school in Kabul who made about $80 a month went on strike in May, complaining that they were expected to teach the country’s young but could afford to feed their children only boiled wheat. Some families in far-flung provinces have sold their children or tried to. In one case, Karzai intervened, ordering the governor of northern Kunduz province to help a family that had sold a child.

A young man from northwestern Jowzjan province hanged himself because he was starving, a TV station reported recently. In the eastern city of Jalalabad, protesters blocked the road to Kabul in April over food prices.

Food crisis in Kenya: here.

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