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Take action to put food first

Jim Rosenberg's picture


Rising and volatile food prices are causing pain and suffering for poor people around the world, driving 44 million people into extreme poverty in recent months. On April 14-15, 2011 we are hosting our second Open Forum, a global conversation to look at the problem and possible solutions to overcome the food crisis. We’re taking questions and soliciting ideas to help put food first for the world’s 1 billion hungry people.

Help us create awareness for this important issue and the event itself. If you care about food security, consider:

  • Writing a blog post about putting food first
  • Embedding related videos
  • Stealing our tweets
  • Posting to Facebook 
  • Writing a blurb in your newsletter

Background info about the food crisis:
Food prices are highly volatile and rising. Prices have soared 29% in just a year, and are now just shy of their peak during the 2008 global food crisis. Every day almost 1 billion people go to bed hungry. Every minute 170 people become desperately poor simply because food is too expensive. Since last year, wheat prices have increased by 79%, rice by 17%, and maize by 73%. Food has never been so expensive.

The recent food price hikes have driven about 44 million more people into poverty. Poor harvests and weather wrecking havoc on crops have played a role in driving up prices. Some people blame speculation on agricultural commodities or a lack of investment in agriculture as key factors behind high food prices and high price volatility. Whatever the reasons, it’s clear hunger is on the rise. We need to find solutions to put food first and ensure everyone has enough nutritious food now and in the years to come.


Here’s how you can participate:
1) Submit ideas to overcome the food crisis and put food first for the world's 1 billion hungry people at
2) Sign up for a reminder to join the global debate about the food crisis. Begins Thursday, April 14th at 15:00 GMT (12:00 pm ET)
3) Watch the live webcast of experts discussing your ideas on Friday, April 15th at 13:00 GMT (10:00 am ET)
4) Spread the word using twitter hashtags #foodcrisis and #wblive

Open World Bank Twitter Twitter

Rising food prices are causing pain and suffering for poor people around the world #foodcrisis #wblive

Share ideas, debate solutions for the #foodcrisis at Live chat Apr. 14-15.

Food prices pushed 44m people into extreme poverty. Debate solutions Apr. 14-15 at #wblive

Everyone deserves nutritious food - #fighthunger and debate ways to end the #foodcrisis. #wblive

Put food first: every day almost 1b people go #hungry. Debate solutions, share ideas at #wblive

Tweets with names, for example::
Join @josettesheeran @Calestous @TomArnoldCEO @mattfrei @Loarie to debate #foodcrisis 4/14 #wblive

Tweets with orgs, for example:
Join @wfp @concern @Calestous @wbclimatechange @bread4theworld to debate #foodcrisis 4/14 #wblive

Open World Bank Facebook pageFacebook

Adapt the tweets for the first line and link to

Open World Bank Youtube Channel YouTube

English 60 sec promotional video: 
English 30 sec promotional video: 
English "What's your solution?" video: 
Spanish 60 sec promotional video: 
French 60 sec promotional video: 

Important links:

English page:
Spanish page:
French page:
Arabic page:
Social media link:
Meet the Experts:
Submit your idea:


Submitted by MOHD AZMAN BIN BIDIN on
I really support this Forum. The worry is very much incrementally every year. Please do something. If bank can play arround with tax. Why not we find way to to be creative in tax strategies!! It's ok we had poor people around but enough food for them. Regards.

Submitted by Anonymous on
HI WORLD BANK, PUT FOOD FIRST Am a Voluntary Community Social Worker in one of the Slums at the grassroots level in oustskirts of Nairobi City (Eastlands) for 13 yrs. PUTTING FOOD FIRST IS A BRIGHT IDEA!!! WITH AN EMPTY STOMACH ECONOMY OF ANY COUNTRY WILL NOT BE PERFECT. I assure you that majority of families go without food for days. People mistake them that they go hungry due to laziness but it is not true. Women are the most affected because they are the ones who toil to feed their own families (children). They wake up very early go nearby middle class Community knocking door to door for employment i.e washing Clothes they get Kshs. 200. others Kshs 100. Take for instance the case of Mweni who is somehow retarded she asks for Kshs. 50/. Some people take advantage of her situation and exploit her in the evening she is paid Kshs. 50/. Others boil maize and Beans (githeri) beans, green peas etc and sell to other neighbours who find it cheaper 1/2 a litre cup is sold at 10/=. MEASURES TO BE TAKEN TO SOLVE FOOD SCARCITY IN POOR FAMILIES: The idea of INFORMAL SECTOR to loan the poor, 1. START-UP BUSINESS, 2. those who roast maize by the roadside. 3 The green grocers on the road side others with small Kiosks. The Young drop-outs girls in primary Schools who give birth & boys from school who have no money to be given either that Loan without condition but they should be in groups whereby they sign for one another as guaranters. * Though the money belongs to the Govenment of Kenya Its unfortunate that the Banks that were entrusted the money to loan out the Community are further complicating issues. I suggest that the Government Ministry of Finance be the Custodian of the Money from Ministry of Financed launched by Hon. Uhuru. Those who are filling in Loan forms to the Community( i am helping in filling the loan forms in my Community) should work together with the Ministry Officials and the Community loan money, should be channeled through their bank accounts by the Officials of the Ministry Headquarters just as they pay salary to their employees. Majority do not have Bank Accounts so the Government should open for them and money be deducted from their loan. This way, the poor Community who sleep hungry will be able to start their own small business and the grace period of six months that the Government has put on the loan money by the time they start repaying would take them far. Now that the banks are not taking the Goverment serious and it seems the money will not reach to the Grassroots (the poor) i suggest that: The World Bank help to get Grants for those who are in the Slums and Medium class through Registered Community Groups and give them money for Start up Business. Majority of drop-outs girls who give birth while looking for money to buy food will be able to train themselves on Dressmaking, Saloon, Cake making etc.. The method of planting Sukuma Wiki in a Sack (soil manure filled in a sack and sukuma and spinach planted) would very much help the poor because if they plant in big quantities. That will be the end of going to the market to buy sukuma & spinach. They would even sell to get money to buy kerosene for cooking and other household items. So, they should contact the Group Chairpersons and the elders of the Community even Churches though some churches might discriminate to identify the most vulnerable families. Some cases are so miserable, with retarded families either mother or father or children who die due to hunger (poverty) N.B. Area MPs, Councilors, Chiefs should not be trusted with grants, Community money the money never reach the poor ( needy) even food. At times, when the relief food is given by the government for the poor very few benefit. I have witnessed, whenever i go to borrow for the needy, they hardly get. HOPE THIS CONTRIBUTION WILL HELP THE WORLD BANK GROUP TO IDENTIFY SOME ISSUES WHICH OPPRESS THE POOR MOST 1

Submitted by GS RADJOU on
I read your post. I have seen 3 things- the solutions to resource scarcity, E.F. Schumacher "small is beautifull" and ITDG development philosophy and the Maslow Pyramid of motivation . No food lead to weak people unable to invest and no investment equals no food. Food is widely accepted as a most important physiological need. Nowhere, people should go hungry.

Submitted by Raunaq SJB Rana on
Greetings, The issue of putting supplying food to every individual on this planet has always been a challenging task. The effects of globalization has to a very large extent, improved logistics and communications but has failed in some areas. "The European Union continues to promote agrofuels crops which require land in Africa. Experts have just published a report where they explain that 'biofuels' will be the main solution "to gradually replace fossil energy sources and make transport sustainable by 2050". Biofuels will be combined with electricity (batteries and hydrogen / fuel cells) and completed with other alternative fuels. " - Source: - It is inevitable that resource-hungry companies would exploit lands in Africa because they can obtain vast amount of land at highly negotiable rates. Question 1) Should production of bio-fuel replace the need to extend crop production when we are undergoing a food crisis in many parts of the world? - 'Jatropha' is being pushed as one of the new miracle crops for African small farmers to produce fuel and rescue themselves out of poverty. But this plant requires a lot of water to sustain itself. Question 2) With the decreasing fresh-water levels and non-replinshing underground water table, would it be an ethical choice to prefer bio-fuels over food?"

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