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Surging food prices fuel protests across developing world

Surging food prices fuel protests across developing world

FILE PHOTO: Riot police block demonstrators and members of worker unions during a protest against Peru's President Pedro Castillo's government and rising food and fuel prices, in Lima, Peru April 7, 2022. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril/File Photo

The war in Ukraine and drought fuelled by climate change has sent global prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertiliser soaring.

Rising prices for basic food staples is fuelling protests from Indonesia to Iran.

European wheat prices have jumped 74 per cent and benchmark palm oil futures went up 24 per cent since January.

The trend is growing and is alarming policymakers, with United Nations agencies warning that the price hikes will worsen an existing food crisis in Africa and could cause "catastrophic" child malnutrition.

Following are protests in alphabetical order that have erupted over food prices over the past few months.

ARGENTINA

Thousands of farmers protested in Buenos Aires on Apr 23 against President Alberto Fernandez, whose policies to contain food prices to curb rampant inflation have been criticised by the agricultural sector.

CHILE

Thousands of students marched through the Chilean capital Santiago on Mar 25 demanding higher food stipends.

CYPRUS

Cypriot farmers dumped tonnes of milk and lit bales of hay outside the presidential palace in the capital Nicosia on May 18, in protest at high prices and production issues.

GREECE

Thousands of Greek workers protested in Athens in May Day rallies against surge in energy and food prices. Greece's annual consumer inflation accelerated to 8.9 per cent in March, hitting its highest level in 27 years.

INDONESIA

Indonesian farmers protested in Jakarta on May 17 against rising cost of palm oil export ban. Smallholder farmers' group APKASINDO estimates at least 25 per cent of palm oil mills have stopped buying palm fruit from independent farmers since the ban started, sending the price of palm fruit 70 per cent below a floor price set by regional authorities.

IRAN

Price protests turn political in Iran as rallies spread. The protests began in early May sparked by the government's subsidy cut decision that caused price hikes in Iran by as much as 300 per cent for a variety of flour-based staples. The government also raised prices of some basic goods such as cooking oil and dairy products.

KENYA

Activists held a demonstration on May 17 in Nairobi, asking the government to lower costs of living, especially on food prices.

LEBANON

Lebanese truck and bus drivers and others blocked roads in January to protest against soaring prices. The protesters accuse politicians of failure to address an ongoing economic crisis since 2019.

PERU

Peru deployed army on highways in April in response to road blockades spurred by anger over rising food and fuel prices. Peru is facing its highest inflation rate in a quarter century.

SRI LANKA

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency earlier in May, following a day of anti-government strikes and protests over a worsening economic crisis. Sri Lanka's economic crisis, unparalleled since its independence in 1948, has come from the confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising oil prices and populist tax cuts by the Rajapaksas.

SUDAN

In March, a protester was shot and killed in the Sudanese city of Madani, medics said, as demonstrators marched across the country to protest a military coup that has been followed by a steep economic downturn. Sudan's currency has lost more than a third of its value since the military coup in October last year, rapidly driving up prices for fuel, food and other goods.

TUNISIA

Tunisia said on May 11 it will raise the prices of some foods including milk, eggs and poultry, following protests by farmers against a jump in animal feed barley prices.

Source: Reuters/ic

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