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16Jan

12 Powerful Photos Show How Food Prices Have Skyrocketed Around The World

As budgets are forced to tighten, some families are facing desperate situations. These eye-opening photos show the exorbitant price increases at food stores and markets over the last 12 months.

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Africa

12 Powerful Photos Show How Food Prices Have Skyrocketed Around The World

As budgets are forced to tighten, some families are facing desperate situations. These eye-opening photos show the exorbitant price increases at food stores and markets over the last 12 months.

16Jan

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Compassion International

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Compassion International


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It’s becoming a familiar experience: wincing at the supermarket checkout when the total displays. The collision of war, inflation, extreme weather, and the pandemic has created the largest food crisis in history—and we’re all feeling the impact.  

As budgets are forced to tighten, some families are facing desperate situations. These eye-opening photos show the exorbitant price increases at food stores and markets over the last 12 months, pushing vulnerable families towards hunger, malnutrition, and even starvation.   

1. Powdered milk, 1 kg, Sri Lanka: 206% price increase 

Powdered milk sits on a supermarket shelf.Current price: LKR 2895 (£6.76) 

Previous price: LKR 945 (GBP£2.20) 

Cost increase: 206% 

Daily income of family living in poverty: LKR 1000-1500 (GBP £2.29-3.44) 

Powdered milk is often the choice for families who live in poverty, as most don’t have a refrigerator to keep fresh milk cool. However, a one-kilogram box of the product now costs several times their daily income. “In Sri Lanka, since the beginning of 2022, every month has been getting more difficult for people,” explains Compassion Sri Lanka photojournalist Odessa B. “Due to the economic crisis, food inflation rates have gone up by 80 per cent [overall].”  

2. Full cream milk, 1 litre, Sri Lanka: 95% price increase

Milk cartons on display at a Sri Lankan supermarket.Current price: LKR 430 (£0.96) 

Previous price: LKR 220 (£0.51) 

Cost increase: 95% 

Daily income of family living in poverty: LKR 1000-1500 (£2.29-3.44) 

Fresh milk is no exception to the price hikes. “Every month we hear news of prices being increased,” says Odessa. “For a middle-class family with a steady monthly income, managing this crisis has been difficult. You can only imagine what it is like for a family living in poverty who don't have a steady income and were already struggling before inflation.” 

3. Cooking oil, 1 litre, Burkina Faso: 75% price increase  

Cooking oil on display in a Burkina Faso supermarket.Current price: 1750 XOF (£2.25) 

Previous price: 1000 XOF (£1.28) 

Price increase: 75% 

Daily income of family living in poverty: less than 500 XOF (£0.64) 

In West Africa, it’s a similar story. “Traders and customers discuss prices with frustration,” says Compassion Burkina Faso photojournalist Jehojakim Sangare. “For families living in poverty, inflation is putting them further below the poverty line, as children miss school and adequate health care for their development because their parents can’t afford it.”  

4. Spaghetti, 250g, Burkina Faso: 100% price increase 

Spaghetti on display at a Burkina Faso supermarket.Current price: 350 XOF (£0.45) 

Previous price: 175 XOF (£0.22) 

Price increase: 100% 

Daily income of family living in poverty: less than 500 XOF (£0.64) 

Drought is worsening the situation in Burkina Faso, driving up the cost of locally grown food. “People are worried about inflation because life was already difficult due to the poor harvest last year,” says Jehojakim. “It didn't rain enough and the security issue in many regions of the country is amplifying the economic crisis. Everything is increasing, even the price of food that is grown in our country.”  

We’re inviting you to stand with Compassion and our 8,500 church partners as we take action.?Your donation will meet urgent nutritional needs now through distribution of food packs, while delivering long-term solutions, through the distribution of seeds, fertiliser, livestock, and training on building and maintaining home gardens and small-scale farms, to help stop hunger.?  

Support our Food Crisis Appeal

 

5. Beans, 250g, Kenya: 76% price increase 

Beans on display in a Kenyan supermarket.Current price: 143 KES (£1) 

Previous price: 81 KES (£0.57) 

Price increase: 76% 

Daily income of family living in poverty: 143 KES (£0.98) 

In Kenya, Compassion Kenya photojournalist Kevin Ouma says conversations in communities are increasingly revolving around the rising cost of food. “Many families have had their household budgets stretched, straining resources that would usually go to other expenses,” he says. “Families living in poverty have been worst hit, having to resort to one meal a day.”  

6. Lentils, 1 kg, Bangladesh: up to 50% price increase 

Lentils on display at a supermarket in Bangladesh.Current price: 110-150 BDT (£0.99-1.35) 

Previous price: 80-100 BDT (£0.72-0.90) 

Price increase: 37% - 50% 

Daily income of family living in poverty: 312 BDT (£2.71) 

The pandemic hit Bangladesh hard, with quarantine restrictions leaving many day labourers out of work. Two years on, Compassion Bangladesh photojournalist J. Sangma says the daily income can’t support the increased cost of living.  

“People are glad that they are able to sustain their jobs in the post-COVID era but what good is a job when the economy is having a tough time recovering from the bruises left behind by the pandemic? Every single person in the country has felt the shift in price of goods. The market price of basic food items has shot up drastically, which hits the low-income families hard.” 

7. Potato, 1 kg, Bangladesh: 100% price increase 

Vegetables on display at a Bangladesh supermarket.Current price: 40 BDT (£0.36) 

Previous price: 20 BDT (£0.18) 

Price increase: 100% 

Daily income of family living in poverty: 312 BDT (£2.71) 

Like Burkina Faso, extreme weather has worsened the situation in Bangladesh. “The pandemic wasn’t enough to take down the resilient people of Bangladesh, but once again the northeast region was hit by a flash flood of a severity not seen in decades,” says J. Sangma. “Today, the country is exhausted from the constant strain caused by nature and yet, its people are hopeful and still aspire for a better developed nation.” 

8. Bread rolls, Haiti: 300% price increase 

Bread rolls on display at a Haiti supermarket.Current price: 200 Gourdes (£1.43) 

Previous price: 50 Gourdes (£0.35) 

Price increase: 300% 

Daily income of family living in poverty: 100 Gourdes (£0.69) 

Hunger levels were already rising in Haiti, with political instability, inflation and recurrent natural disasters wreaking havoc. Soaring inflation is making basic food items unaffordable.  

“Bread is the most popular food throughout Haiti. Haitians eat bread in the morning for breakfast,” says Duples Plymouth, Compassion Haiti photojournalist contractor. “Now, it’s been reduced in size because flour and other ingredients are more expensive due to the inflation.” 

9. Rice, Haiti: 306% increase 

A bag of rice in Haiti.Current price: 3250 Gourdes (£23.24) 

Previous price: 800 Gourdes (£5.70) 

Price increase: 306% 

Daily income of family living in poverty: 100 Gourdes (£0.69) 

Most Haitians purchase imported rice as it is typically cheaper than the local variety. Rice is a key part of the Haitian diet, but vulnerable families are quickly becoming priced out.  

10. 1 kg maize flour, Uganda: 150% increase 

Maize flour on display in a Ugandan supermarket.Current price: UGX 4,500 (£0.95) 

Previous price: UGX 1,800 (£0.38) 

Price increase: 150% 

Daily income of family living in poverty: UGX 2,142 (£0.45) 

Maize flour is the key ingredient in posho, a dish made by mixing the flour with hot water. It’s one of the cheapest—albeit ‘least desirable’—meals in Uganda. “When resources are low, many Ugandans have no choice but to resort to eating posho,” says Compassion Uganda photojournalist Carol Mwinemewsigwa. “Yet with the increase in fuel prices and inflation, maize flour is more difficult to afford.”  

11. 1 kg tomatoes, Ethiopia: up to 110% increase 

Tomatoes on display at aCurrent price: ETB 21 (£0.32) 

Previous price: ETB 10-12 (£0.15-0.18) 

Price increase: 75-110% 

In Ethiopia, inflation hasn’t only affected food. “House rent, school fees, transportation—basically everything has gone up, while the income of the people has stayed the same,” explains Compassion Ethiopia photojournalist Tigist Gizachew. “The number of items people used to buy with a certain amount of money is now cut by more than half. People who depend on daily jobs that pay minimum wage are highly affected since their daily income is becoming just paper.” 

12. Corn, Togo: 137% increase 

Corn on display in a Togo supermarket.Current price: 950 CFA (£1.21) 

Previous price: 400 CFA (£0.51) 

Price increase: 137.5% 

Daily income of family living in poverty: 500-1000 CFA (USD 0.77 / AUD 1.11 / GBP £0.63) 

Corn was once an affordable staple in the Togolese diet. “But, with inflation, corn has become rich people's food,” says Compassion Togo photojournalist Gabriella Samaty. “Families with a limited budget can hardly afford corn for their daily meals like they could before. People are frustrated with the current state of affairs.” 

The unprecedented global food crisis is impacting all of us, but for those who were already struggling to put food on the table, the situation is dire. ? 

Over the past two years of the pandemic, Compassion’s local church partners have been providing food support to hungry families; but now the crisis is skyrocketing the number who need help.? 

We’re inviting you to stand with Compassion and our 8,500 church partners as we take action.?Your donation will meet urgent nutritional needs now through distribution of food packs, while delivering long-term solutions, through the distribution of seeds, fertiliser, livestock, and training on building and maintaining home gardens and small-scale farms, to help stop hunger.? 

Your donation will do more than feed a hungry child. It will empower parents to provide and stabilise vulnerable families. It will stop hunger having the final say.

Support our Food Crisis Appeal

 

 

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