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Rising food and fuel prices focus of UN official’s visit to Ethiopia, Kenya

Rising food and fuel prices focus of UN official’s visit to Ethiopia, Kenya

Josette Sheeran, WFP Executive Director
The head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today began a three-day visit to Ethiopia and Kenya to highlight the impact of soaring food and fuel costs, which are affecting millions of people around the world.

Following her arrival in Addis Ababa, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran addressed the joint African Union (AU) and Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) conference on the rise in food prices, which she has attributed to a “perfect storm” of increasing demand for food from emerging economies, competition between biofuels and food production, high fuel prices and increasing droughts and floods.

Earlier this month, WFP made an emergency appeal to donor countries for $500 million to offset the increased price of food commodities.

Ms. Sheeran was also scheduled to visit a wheat distribution centre and meet with grain traders and local residents.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that food security in Ethiopia continues to be a concern, despite rainfall in some areas, adding that Ethiopians are resorting to borrowing food and slaughtering calves.

Tomorrow, Ms. Sheeran heads to Kenya to visit WFP’s current operations there, including those in response to the violence that erupted in the East African nation following disputed presidential polls last December.