The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has announced that it is forced to cut down its rations to about one million Sri Lankans who are currently being fed in the North and East, as prices of essential grain are hitting record levels around the world. WFP Country Director Mohamed Saleheen told local media that it would "suspend their food-for-work programme to about 175,000 people in the war-affected regions from May 1 and reduce rations of others from 1,900 kilocalories to 1,665 kilocalories per day per person.'

Rising food prices have developed into a global crisis, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday. Concerns about food security mounted this week as rice prices hit records in Asia and the United States warned that staples for the world's hungry were getting much more expensive. "This steeply rising price of food has developed into a real global crisis,' Ban told journalists in Vienna. Anger over high food and fuel costs in recent months has sparked protests in several countries.

Alarmed by rising global food prices, some European leaders are rethinking their commitment to use ethanol fuel and are considering other policy changes to lower the costs of basic staples. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown became the latest official to say that the European Union may have to back off its goal of having ethanol account for 20% of the motor vehicle fuel burned on Europe's roads by 2020.

Soaring food prices are a "massacre" of the world's poor and are creating a global nutritional crisis, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday, calling it a sign that capitalism is in decline. His comments came only hours after the United Nations' World Food Program called more expensive food a "silent tsunami" that threatens to plunge more than 100 million people on every continent into hunger. "It is a true massacre what is happening in the world," Chavez said in a televised speech, citing UN statistics about deaths caused by hunger and malnourishment.

THE World Food Program has begun to cut the provision of school meals to some of the world's poorest children as the global crisis over food prices worsens. WFP executive director Josette Sheeran said on Tuesday that the price of basic foods was rising so rapidly that a shortfall in financing for its food relief programs had grown from $US500 million ($A530 million) to $US755 million in less than two months.

The world faces a "silent tsunami' of soaring food prices and more must be done to help secure future supply, the U.N. food agency said Tuesday as experts gathered in London for a special summit on the problem. The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said an extra 100 million people who previously did not require help could now not afford to buy food. It said the soaring prices threatened anti-poverty and health improvement initiatives in the world's poorest nations and left a $755-million hole in the organization's $2.9-billion budget.

High food prices are today a serious humanitarian concern. They are also a source of macroeconomic instability affecting budgets, trade balances and, of course, incomes almost everywhere in the world.

Former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan Saturday told governments to invest more in agriculture to avoid future food crises, but warned that current shortages would hurt the poor. Annan said the surging price of basic foods like rice, wheat and corn in some of the world's poorest countries, which have triggered riots in Haiti and demonstrations in some African countries, will last for sometime. Factors contributing to the rise include the increasing demand for biofuels, and the rising cost of oil and transportation.

Food prices are causing misery and strife around the world. Radical solutions are needed PICTURES of hunger usually show passive eyes and swollen bellies. The harvest fails because of war or strife; the onset of crisis is sudden and localised. Its burden falls on those already at the margin.

Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday pledged more money and a new global partnership to bring down food prices - the latest ambitious but ill-defined plan to combat the worldwide crisis. The French president doubled to