ROME – The political unrest in Myanmar is driving up food and fuel prices, risking pushing the country’s most vulnerable people further into poverty, the UN’s World Food Programme warned.
The price of palm oil is up 20 percent in the areas around the biggest city, Yangon, compared to the start of February, when the military ousted and detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, sparking mass protests.
Rice prices in the peri-urban areas of Yangon and the second largest city, Mandalay, were meanwhile up four percent since the last week of February, the WFP said.
Across the whole country, the price of rice – a food staple – rose by three percent between mid-January and mid-February, while in a few areas prices soared by between 20 and 35 percent. The price of pulses rose by 15 percent between January and February in northern Rakhine’s Maungdaw township.
“These initial signs are troubling, especially for the most vulnerable people who were already living meal-to-meal,” said WFP Myanmar country director Stephen Anderson.