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The United Nations reports that 1.3 million people in rural Afghanistan are in need of food aid due to increasing prices of staple foods such as wheat flour and vegetable oil.
“We have concluded that assistance for this group of people is justified and necessary for the period before the next harvest,” said Rick Cosino, director of the World Food Program in Afghanistan, noting that an additional 40,000 tons of food—at a cost of some $30 million—would be needed, in addition to the agency’s ongoing program.
In the past 12 months, wheat flour prices have increased by 60% throughout Afghanistan, with some locations seeing spikes of up to 80%. Meanwhile, the cost of wheat during the past year has increased globally by nearly 100%. Several factors have contributed to this, including high demands for cereals, the use of some grains for bio-fuels, and poor harvests in regions that usually have very strong wheat production.