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This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
There are growing concerns about food insecurity in the developing world. Rising food prices, weather emergencies and political problems are deepening the struggles of families in many countries.
Three United Nations agencies published a report before World Food Day in October. This year's "State of Food Insecurity in the World" report says high prices are likely to continue. Gregory Barrow with the World Food Program in Rome says, "If you look at the places where World Food Program works, particularly in developing countries, you see populations of people who might be spending sixty, seventy, eighty percent of their salaries on purchasing food for their families."
The report says even short-term price increases can have a long-term effect. Reducing nutritious food early in a child's life can affect mental and physical development and limit future earnings.
The United Nations has programs aimed at reducing the number of hungry people in the world by fifty percent by twenty-fifteen. But most observers say this target is unlikely to be reached.
East Africa is suffering its worst drought in years. In Kenya, at least three and a half million people are going hungry, mostly in the north. Yet food is going to waste in central Kenya. Now, farmers there want the government to buy their food and get it to those in need.
Farmers say bad roads and a lack of transportation make it difficult for them to get their produce to market. Storage is another problem. And they complain about a big drop in food prices.
Nahashon Gitau farms almost three hectares about a ninety-minute drive from Nairobi. He says he regrets that he wastes at least twenty-five percent of his harvest while other Kenyans are hungry. He says the government should buy his food at a "good price" instead of asking for food from overseas. Economists say the imports reduce local food prices, decrease productivity and increase dependency among the people.
Mr. Gitau says if he could receive higher prices for his crops, he could feed more Kenyans. A Kinangop District official said her office does not get enough money from the central government to improve roads and take other steps to help farmers reach markets.