MANILA - The most expensive plates of food can be found in some of the world's poorest countries, if based on how much of a person's daily wage is spent for a meal, according to an international study.
The "True Cost of Food," compiled by the UN's World Food Programme and payment solutions provider Mastercard, used New York State as a baseline, where a plate of bean stew costs $1.20 to make, representing 0.6 percent of the average daily income.
In the Philippines, a plate of beans would cost $9.34 or 4.5 percent of the average daily wage. The country was the ninth least expensive out of 34 territories in the study.
Food was most expensive in South Sudan, where a plate of beans relative to New York income would cost $321.70. This accounts for 155 percent of the Sudanese average daily income, according to the study.
“The research in Counting the Beans is a stark reminder of how conflict can create cruel inequalities in terms of access to food,” said WFP executive director David Beasley.
Nigeria was second most expensive, where the same plate would cost $200.32, 121 percent of the average daily income, followed by Deir Ezzor, Syria, where it would cost $190.11 or 115 percent of the average daily wage.
Malawi was fourth, where the cost was estimated at $94.43 per plate or 45 percent of average daily income and Democratic Republic of Congo, where it would cost $82.10 or 40 percent of average daily wage.
According to WFP estimates, 815 million people go hungry every day.