Food prices push 44 million into poverty

Rising food prices have pushed about 44 million people into poverty in developing countries since last June, the World Bank warned Tuesday.

Food costs are continuing to rise to near 2008 levels, when price spikes in food and oil had devastating impacts on the poor, the development lender said, noting its numbers were released ahead of a Group of 20 finance chiefs meeting this week.

“Global food prices are rising to dangerous levels and threaten tens of millions of poor people around the world,” World Bank president Robert Zoellick said in a statement.

“The price hike is already pushing millions of people into poverty, and putting stress on the most vulnerable, who spend more than half of their income on food.”

According to the bank’s latest Food Price Watch, prices rose by 15 percent between October 2010 and January 2011.