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Afghanistan: Food

Volume 467: debated on Thursday 22 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his assessment is of (a) food prices and (b) levels of food poverty in Afghanistan; what assessment he has made of such (i) prices and (ii) levels in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. (166056)

The UK Government do not make their own assessment of food prices and levels of food poverty in Afghanistan, but use data from surveys and analysis carried out by the Government of Afghanistan and international agencies. Because data quality on Afghanistan is poor, it is not possible to provide a breakdown of each year since 2001.

Food price inflation has stayed stable at an average of 8 per cent. per year since 2003. However these prices are likely to increase in the future due to significant increases in international food prices.

Food poverty in 2005, as measured by the number of people consuming less than 2,100 calories a day, was 30 per cent. The figure for rural and urban Afghanistan is almost the same. There is no reliable time series, but according to the United Nations, during 2001-04 the proportion of people suffering food poverty in rural areas remained relatively constant. This suggests that the majority of Afghans manage to maintain a minimum level of calorie intake despite year-to-year rainfall fluctuations. However millions are still chronically or seasonally food insecure.