When people in poor countries go hungry, it’s often because food is unaffordable. A report from the World Food Programme (WFP) analyzed the glaring gap in food costs around the world, finding that in many cases, people living in poor countries have to spend the bulk of their wages on basic nourishment. The research measured the proportion of daily income that people spent on ingredients for a basic bean stew in different countries last year before retro-projecting the ratio on to a resident of New York State. An average person living in New York State would spend about 0.6 percent of his or her daily income on ingredients for a 600-kilocalorie bean stew, approximately $1.20. In India, most people would find those ingredients readily affordable, with real costs coming to $9.25 or 4.25 percent of daily income. The situation is far more serious in other parts of the world, particularly in Africa.
Someone living in South Sudan would have to work for a day and a half to afford a basic meal with the cost of the ingredients 155 percent of daily income.
The real price of a plate of bean stew in South Sudan would be $321.70 and unsurprisingly, many of the country’s inhabitants are struggling to feed themselves.