Skyrocketing food prices push millions into extreme poverty

World Bank reports wheat and maize costs have spiked 75 percent since last June.

The head of the World Bank says a sharp rise in food prices has pushed 44 million people into extreme poverty. World Bank President Robert Zoellick is calling on the Group of 20 leading and emerging economies to put food first on its agenda.

The World Bank’s latest food price index is just three percent below its 2008 peak. Wheat and maize prices have gone up about 75 percent since last June. According to report, wheat increased 54 percent in Kyrgyzstan, 45 percent in Bangladesh, 37 percent in Tajikistan, 33 percent in Mongolia, 31 percent in Sri Lanka, 19 percent in Afghanistan and 16 percent in both Sudan and Pakistan.

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