Sunday, June 29, 2008

[Guinean news] Food prices in Guinea amongst the highest in the region

While food price increases are affecting the entire world, Guinea has been particularly hard hit.

The IRIN reports that Food price hikes have hit Guinea's capital Conakry harder than many others in West Africa according to the World Food Programme (WFP), while an export ban is preventing rural populations from benefiting from high global market prices, leading to fears that mounting food insecurity could lead to instability.

It notes that rice prices in Conakry are almost 50 percent higher than in nearby Monrovia, Liberia and significantly higher than in Senegal's capital Dakar.

In some areas, families spend over 60 percent of their income on food, according to the NGO Helen Keller International.

WFP notes that one of the key factors in Guinea is that rice importing is dominated by a few actors. The country also has an inefficient port system, which adds to costs. And the Guinean franc is not part of the West African CFA monetary union (which in turn is linked to the Euro) has plummeted in value dramatically as inflation has soared. It adds that an export ban has denied Guinean farmers the benefit of high global prices.

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