"Third-World Food Security"
HKI's Shawn Baker wrote a letter to the editor in reponse to an October 13th article, "Rising Corn Prices Bring Fears of an Upswing in Food Costs":
[The article] underscores the continued volatility in prices of staple foods. One devastating effect of these price increases is a sharp increase in “hidden hunger,” or deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals, among the poor, which leads to increased sickness and death and undermines economic productivity.
Poor households in developing countries that already spend most of their income on food respond to increased prices by trying to maintain their levels of staples at the expense of more costly fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish — foods that are rich in nutrients.
Reforming agricultural and food policies to address price volatility provides an opportunity to promote proven, low-cost interventions to enhance the vitamin and mineral content of staple foods. These include fortification of products like flour and cooking oil and promoting plant breeding that selects for enhanced nutritional qualities of crop varieties.