World food crisis

For comparison, inthe middle class grew by 9. Another issue with rising affluence in India and China was reducing the "shock absorber" of poor people who are forced to reduce their resource consumption when food prices rise. This reduced price elasticity and caused a sharp rise in food prices during some shortages.

World food crisis

For comparison, inthe middle class grew by 9. Another issue with rising affluence in India and China was reducing the "shock absorber" of poor people who are forced to reduce their resource consumption when food prices rise.

This reduced price elasticity and caused a sharp rise in food prices during some shortages. In the media, China is often mentioned as one of the main reasons for the increase in world food prices.

However, China has to a large extent been able to meet its own demand for food, and even exports its surpluses in the world market.

Prices approximately tripled for ammoniaureadiammonium phosphatemuriate of potash KCland sulfuric acid used for making phosphate fertilizerand then fell just as dramatically in the latter part of Some prices doubled within the six months before April Ammonia productionnatural gas has its own supply problems similar to those for oil.

Because natural gas can substitute for petroleum in some uses for example, natural gas liquids and electricity generationincreasing prices for petroleum lead to increasing prices for natural gas, and thus for fertilizer.

World food crisis

Costs for fertilizer raw materials other than oil, such as potashhave been increasing [32] as increased production of staples increases demand. This is causing a boom with associated volatility in agriculture stocks. The major IFPRI Report launched in February stated that the causes of the global food crisis were similar to that of the —74 food crisis, in that the oil price and energy price was the major driver, as well as the shock to cereal demand from biofuels this timelow interest rates, devaluation of the dollar, declining stocks, and some adverse weather conditions.

Declining world food stockpiles[ edit ] In the past, nations tended to keep more sizable food stockpiles, but more recently, due to a faster pace of food growth and ease of importation, less emphasis is placed on high stockpiles.

For example, in February wheat stockpiles hit a year low in the United States see also Rice shortage. Financial speculation[ edit ] Destabilizing influences, including indiscriminate lending and real estate speculation, led to a crisis in Januaryand eroded investment in food commodities.

Commodity index fund Goldman Sachs' entry into the commodities market via the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index has been implicated by some in the — world food price crisis.

In a article in Harper's magazine, Frederick Kaufman accused Goldman Sachs of profiting while many people went hungry or even starved. He argued that Goldman's large purchases of long-options on wheat futures created a demand shock in the wheat market, which disturbed the normal relationship between supply and demand and price levels.

He argues that the result was a ' contango ' wheat market on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which caused prices of wheat to rise much higher than normal, defeating the purpose of the exchanges price stabilization in the first place. For example, the report points out that even commodities without futures markets also saw price rises during the period.

In opening developing countries to developed world food imports subsidised by Western governments, developing nations can become more dependent upon food imports if local agriculture does not improve. In recent years United States government subsidies have been added to push production toward biofuel rather than food and vegetables.

Food vs fuel One systemic cause for the price rise is held to be the diversion of food crops maize in particular for making first-generation biofuels. This has resulted in less food available for human consumption, especially in developing and least developed countrieswhere a family's daily allowances for food purchases are extremely limited.

The crisis can be seen, in a sense, to dichotomize rich and poor nationssince, for example, filling a tank of an average car with biofuelamounts to as much maize Africa's principal food staple as an African person consumes in an entire year. The report discusses some existing problems and potential risks and asks the Brazilian government for caution to avoid jeopardizing its environmental and social sustainability.

The report also says that: Bush declared during a press conference that "85 percent of the world's food prices are caused by weather, increased demand and energy prices", and recognized that "15 percent has been caused by ethanol".

As ethanol production from corn has continued at the same levels, some have argued this trend shows the belief that the increased demand for corn to produce ethanol was mistaken. Other analysts say it adds around 20 percent, or just under 80 cents per bushel at current prices.

Second- and third-generation biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol and algae fuelrespectively may someday ease the competition with food crops, as can grow on marginal lands unsuited for food crops, but these advanced biofuels require further development of farming practices and refining technology; in contrast, ethanol from maize uses mature technology and the maize crop can be shifted between food and fuel use quickly.

Biofuel subsidies in the US and the EU[ edit ] The World Bank lists the effect of biofuels as an important contributor to higher food prices.

Maize is the primary crop used for the production of ethanol, with the United States being the biggest producer of maize ethanol. As a result, 23 percent of United States maize crops were being used for ethanol in — up from 6 percent in —and the USDA expects the United States to use 81 million tons of maize for ethanol production in the — season, up 37 percent.Apr 10,  · Most Americans take food for granted.

Even the poorest fifth of households in the United States spend only 16 percent of their budget on food. In many other countries, it is less of a given. Eric Holt-Giménez (October 23, ) The World Food Program’s description of the global food crisis raises the specter of a natural disaster surging over an unaware populace that is helpless in the face of massive destruction.

World food prices increased dramatically in and the first and second quarter of , creating a global crisis and causing political and economic instability and social unrest in both poor and developed barnweddingvt.comgh the media spotlight focused on the riots that ensued in the face of high prices, the ongoing crisis of food insecurity had been years in the making.

Apr 10,  · Most Americans take food for granted. Even the poorest fifth of households in the United States spend only 16 percent of their budget on food. In many other countries, it is less of a given. The Global Report on Food Crises provides the latest estimates of severe hunger in the world.

An estimated million people in 51 countries are currently facing Crisis food insecurity or worse (the equivalent of IPC/CH Phase 3 or above). Conflict and insecurity continued to be the primary drivers of food insecurity in 18 countries, where almost 74 million food-insecure people remain in need of urgent assistance.

Last year’s report identified million people in Crisis food security or worse across 48 countries.

World food crisis
- The Washington Post