Sunday, August 3, 2008

Food crisis in Nepal

Sky News has a good series of articles, some of them focusing on a typical Nepali household, about the impact of rising food prices (HT: Deepak's Diary).

24 Hours of A Nepalese Diet (the reporter experiences firsthand how it feels to live in a typical Nepali household)

Life Below The Breadline in Nepal

Lush Land Where Millions Need Aid

This one makes me homesick:

...There's no running water either, so Anju has to wash the vegetables in rather murky water from a container. Quite a bit has gone into the cooking too. I notice that the dal, which Anju complains has become so expensive lately, was thoroughly diluted.

Markets at work (if you try to destabilize equilibrium by charging more, demand will decrease!):

...I work in the shop with my wife Anju. We sell food and basic household items. But business is slow now. People can't afford to buy much with the increased prices. We have a profit margin of around 3%. If we charged more money, we wouldn't sell anything. I don't want to lose my customers.

And, signs of more people being pushed below the poverty line by rising food prices:

...Its costs about 300 rupees ($5) to put a basic meal together for the family. And that's the same amount we earned working in shop all day. The worrying thing is that prices are increasing daily. I don't know how we'll manage if this trend continues. Maybe we won't be able to stay in the city. At least in the village we could grow our own food. But prices are high there too now.

Again, similar stuff:

A gardener living in the capital Kathmandu, Rajendra Bahadur Bista, 30, earns 5,000 Nepalese rupees a month (about £36). He spends 3,000 rupees from that to feed himself, his wife and two daughters, aged eight years and six months respectively.

"We eat less rice now, less bread and fewer vegetables," he tells me. "We had to cut back on other things, too, such as clothes."