Pedestrians walk past the abandoned San Martin grain silos in San Salvador, on July 22, 2008. Photographer: Alejandra Parra/Bloomberg News
Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) — Inside and out, the rusted towers of El Salvador’s biggest grain silo show how the World Bank helped push developing countries into the global food crisis.
Inside, the silo, which once held thousands of tons of beans and cereals, is now empty. It was abandoned in 1991, after the bank told Salvadoran leaders to privatize grain storage, import staples such as corn and rice, and export crops including cocoa, coffee and palm oil.
Outside, where Rosa Maria Chavez’s food stand is propped against a tower wall, price increases for basic grains this year whittled business down to 16 customers a day from 80.
“It’s a monument to the mess we are in now,” says Chavez, 63.
About 40 million people joined the ranks of the undernourished this year, bringing the estimate of the world’s hungry to 963 million of its 6.8 billion people, the Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said yesterday. The growth didn’t come just from natural causes.