A global food price tsunami

Remember the food crisis in 2008 which sparked riots in many parts of the globe, and which artificially caused local food prices to soar (the sight of long queues for NFA rice)? We are now actually treading the same crisis, now only greater in magnitude.

Based on the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index, current world food prices are actually higher than during the 2008 food crisis. The global food price index is also at its highest in 20 years. It goes without saying that the world’s poor aren’t better off today. And millions more across the globe are expected to slide to hunger and poverty.

Perhaps the stark manifestation of the current food crisis is the ongoing uprisings in North African and Middle East countries. It must be remembered that food price hikes, aside from unemployment, sparked what are currently anti-government protests in the region.

The repugnant fact about the current surge in food prices is that the phenomenon isn’t chiefly caused by supply problems. It is currently intensified by wanton speculation by the Wall Street and other banks on food commodities. In their drive to squeeze more profits from commodities, these financial giants have been betting on rice, wheat, corn, among other agricultural produce – just like how they play speculative trading on oil.

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