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U.N. Calls Emergency Food Prices Meeting (5th September, 2010)


 

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has called a special meeting to discuss the recent rise in global food prices. The food agency is reacting to the recent announcement made by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to extend his country's ban on wheat exports. Droughts caused by a prolonged heatwave have destroyed a lot of Russia’s wheat production and the Russian government is focusing on feeding its own people. Putin’s extension raises fears that the price of food around the world would rise. Mr Putin did not indicate when he would lift the ban. It was originally intended to run until 31 December. In his revised statement, he said it would not be before next year's harvest had been reaped.

The U.N. fears rising prices will bring about food riots in many countries, similar to those that took place in 2008. There has already been unrest in Mozambique, where police opened fire and killed seven people demonstrating over a 30 per cent increase in bread prices. Rises will hurt the pockets more of those in developing countries, where most of a person’s income can go on food. FAO economist Abdolreza Abbassian told the BBC: "Food prices, and wheat in particular, are so important for food security and even the political stability of countries. Even a small increase in the price of food, which is so important to them, can spark a problem." Economists say food prices are expected to surge by at least 10 per cent in most countries.


WARM-UPS

1. FOOD PRICES: Walk around the class and talk to other students about food prices. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

United Nations / food prices / wheat / exports / heatwave / production / harvest / fears / unrest / riots / hurting the pocket / developing countries / stability / surge

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. PRICES: How do they affect you? Complete this table and talk about it your partner(s). Change partners and share what you heard. Change and share again.

 

Affordable now ?

What would you do if prices doubled?

Food

 

 

Gas/Petrol

 

 

Internet/Phone

 

 

Clothes

 

 

Books/Magazines

 

 

Alcohol

 

 

4. RIOTS: Students A strongly believe food riots will never happen in rich countries; Students B strongly believe they will.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. SHOPPING: Which of these would you buy if you had very little money? Rank them and share your rankings with your partner. Put the most important at the top. Change partners and share your rankings again.

  • Bread
  • Potatoes
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Cake
  • Rice
  • Chocolate
  • Bananas

6. WHEAT: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘wheat’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

The United Nations will meet about the price of emergency food.

T / F

b.

The meeting was called because Russia is not exporting wheat.

T / F

c.

Russia’s wheat crop has been affected by floods and cold weather.

T / F

d.

Russia’s prime minister said wheat exports may begin again next year.

T / F

e.

The U.N. is worried food price increases could create civil unrest.

T / F

f.

Bread prices in Mozambique have trebled.

T / F

g.

High food prices will be painful on the pocket for those in poor nations.

T / F

h.

Economists predict food rises of 30% in many nations.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

1.

called

a.

extended

2

reacting

b.

rush

3.

prolonged

c.

harvested

4.

indicate

d.

trouble

5.

reaped

e.

requested

6.

bring about

f.

ignite

7.

unrest

g.

create

8.

in particular

h.

responding

9.

spark

i.

specify

10.

surge

j.

especially

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

called a

a.

until 31 December

2

The food agency is reacting to

b.

stability of countries

3.

feeding its

c.

about food riots

4.

originally intended to run

d.

had been reaped

5.

before next year's harvest

e.

the pockets

6.

rising prices will bring

f.

30 per cent increase

7.

demonstrating over a

g.

special meeting

8.

Rises will hurt

h.

by at least 10 per cent

9.

the political

i.

the recent announcement

10.

prices are expected to surge

j.

own people

 

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has called a special meeting to ____________ the recent rise in global food prices. The food agency is ____________ to the recent announcement made by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to ____________ his country's ban on wheat exports. Droughts caused by a prolonged ____________ have destroyed a lot of Russia’s wheat production and the Russian government is focusing on ____________ its own people. Putin’s extension raises fears that the price of food around the world would ____________. Mr Putin did not indicate when he would ____________ the ban. It was originally intended to run until 31 December. In his revised statement, he said it would not be before next year's ____________ had been reaped.

 

 

 

reacting
harvest
discuss
rise
extend
feeding
lift
heatwave

The U.N. ____________ rising prices will bring about food riots in many countries, similar to those that took place in 2008. There has already been ____________ in Mozambique, where police opened fire and killed seven people demonstrating over a 30 per cent increase in bread prices. Rises will ____________ the pockets more of those in developing countries, where most of a person’s ____________ can go on food. FAO economist Abdolreza Abbassian told the BBC: "Food prices, and wheat in ____________, are so important for food security and even the political ____________ of countries. Even a small increase in the price of food, which is so important to them, can ____________ a problem." Economists say food prices are expected to ____________ by at least 10 per cent in most countries.

 

 

stability
income
unrest
surge
fears
spark
particular
hurt

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has called a special meeting to discuss ______________________ food prices. The food agency is reacting to the recent announcement made by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to ______________________ on wheat exports. Droughts caused by ______________________ have destroyed a lot of Russia’s wheat production and the Russian government is ______________________ own people. Putin’s extension raises fears that the price of food around the world would rise. Mr Putin did not indicate when ______________________. It was originally intended to run until 31 December. In his revised statement, he said it would not be before next year's ______________________.

The U.N. fears rising prices will ______________________ in many countries, similar to those that took place in 2008. There has already been unrest in Mozambique, where police ______________________ seven people demonstrating over a 30 per cent increase in bread prices. Rises will ______________________ of those in developing countries, where most of a person’s income can go on food. FAO economist Abdolreza Abbassian told the BBC: "Food prices, and ______________________, are so important for food security and even the political stability of countries. Even a small ______________________ of food, which is so important to them, can spark a problem." Economists say food prices ______________________ by at least 10 per cent in most countries.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘rising’ and ‘price’.

rising

prices

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • called
  • reacting
  • extend
  • own
  • lift
  • harvest
  • riots
  • fire
  • bread
  • wheat
  • small
  • 10

STUDENT FOOD PRICES SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about food prices in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

FOOD PRICES DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘rising food prices’?

c)

Do you worry about food prices?

d)

Which food would you like to buy but can’t?

e)

What can the U.N. do about rising food prices?

f)

Do you think Russia should share its wheat?

g)

Why are there so many food shortages in the world?

h)

What do you think will happen if Russia prolongs the ban for more than a year?

i)

Are there any food problems in your country?

j)

Do you think food is reasonably priced?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

Would you ever take part in a food riot?

c)

What can governments do to stop food riots?

d)

What recent increases in prices have hurt your pocket?

e)

What does most of your income go on?

f)

Which food would you still buy even if it really increased in price?

g)

Do you think we should all try and grow our own food?

h)

How bad could unrest get in countries where there are extreme food shortages?

i)

Many countries have too much food. How can they help poorer nations?

j)

What questions would you like to ask economist Abdolreza Abbassian?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has (1) ____ a special meeting to discuss the recent rise in global food prices. The food agency is reacting to the recent announcement (2) ____ by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to extend his country's ban on wheat exports. (3) ____ caused by a prolonged heatwave have destroyed a lot of Russia’s wheat production and the Russian government is focusing (4) ____ feeding its own people. Putin’s extension raises fears that the price of food around the world would rise. Mr Putin did not indicate when he would lift the ban. It was (5) ____ intended to run until 31 December. In his revised statement, he said it would not be before next year's harvest (6) ____ been reaped.

The U.N. fears rising prices will bring (7) ____ food riots in many countries, similar to those that took place in 2008. There has already been unrest in Mozambique, where police opened (8) ____ and killed seven people demonstrating over a 30 per cent increase in bread prices. Rises will hurt the (9) ____ more of those in developing countries, where most of a person’s income can (10) ____ on food. FAO economist Abdolreza Abbassian told the BBC: "Food prices, and wheat in particular, are so important for food security and even the political stability of countries. Even a small increase in the price of food, which is so important to them, can (11) ____ a problem." Economists say food prices are expected to (12) ____ by at least 10 per cent in most countries.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

walled

(b)

told

(c)

hold

(d)

called

2.

(a)

done

(b)

made

(c)

taken

(d)

been

3.

(a)

Droughts

(b)

Draughts

(c)

Drafts

(d)

Drafty

4.

(a)

in

(b)

to

(c)

on

(d)

at

5.

(a)

origin

(b)

original

(c)

originally

(d)

originals

6.

(a)

have

(b)

had

(c)

having

(d)

haves

7.

(a)

about

(b)

up

(c)

over

(d)

around

8.

(a)

shoot

(b)

gun

(c)

bullet

(d)

fire

9.

(a)

jeans

(b)

pockets

(c)

cash

(d)

bread

10.

(a)

come

(b)

pay

(c)

spend

(d)

go

11.

(a)

flash

(b)

burn

(c)

spark

(d)

smoke

12.

(a)

surge

(b)

urge

(c)

purge

(d)

merge

WRITING

Write about food prices for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about rising food prices. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. FOOD PRICES: Make a poster about food prices. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. RIOTS: Write a magazine article about food riots. Include imaginary interviews with people who are hungry and rioting.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to an international food economist. Ask him/her three questions about food prices. Give him/her three of your ideas in how to help this problem. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

F

b.

T

c.

F

d.

T

e.

T

f.

F

g.

T

h.

F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

called

a.

requested

2

reacting

b.

responding

3.

prolonged

c.

extended

4.

indicate

d.

specify

5.

reaped

e.

harvested

6.

bring about

f.

create

7.

unrest

g.

trouble

8.

in particular

h.

especially

9.

spark

i.

ignite

10.

surge

j.

rush

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

called a

a.

special meeting

2

The food agency is reacting to

b.

the recent announcement

3.

feeding its

c.

own people

4.

originally intended to run

d.

until 31 December

5.

before next year's harvest

e.

had been reaped

6.

rising prices will bring

f.

about food riots

7.

demonstrating over a

g.

30 per cent increase

8.

Rises will hurt

h.

the pockets

9.

the political

i.

stability of countries

10.

prices are expected to surge

j.

by at least 10 per cent

GAP FILL:

U.N. calls emergency food prices meeting

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has called a special meeting to discuss the recent rise in global food prices. The food agency is reacting to the recent announcement made by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to extend his country's ban on wheat exports. Droughts caused by a prolonged heatwave have destroyed a lot of Russia’s wheat production and the Russian government is focusing on feeding its own people. Putin’s extension raises fears that the price of food around the world would rise. Mr Putin did not indicate when he would lift the ban. It was originally intended to run until 31 December. In his revised statement, he said it would not be before next year's harvest had been reaped.

The U.N. fears rising prices will bring about food riots in many countries, similar to those that took place in 2008. There has already been unrest in Mozambique, where police opened fire and killed seven people demonstrating over a 30 per cent increase in bread prices. Rises will hurt the pockets more of those in developing countries, where most of a person’s income can go on food. FAO economist Abdolreza Abbassian told the BBC: "Food prices, and wheat in particular, are so important for food security and even the political stability of countries. Even a small increase in the price of food, which is so important to them, can spark a problem." Economists say food prices are expected to surge by at least 10 per cent in most countries.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - b

3 - a

4 - c

5 - c

6 - b

7 - a

8 - d

9 - b

10 - d

11 - c

12 - a

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