Rising Food Prices Contribute To Global Crisis

By: Dylan Rodgers

Food prices around the world are on the rise with no sign of coming back down anytime soon.  In fact, global food prices have jumped a whopping 83% since 2005 with 33% of that within the last year.  This is bad news for anyone affected by diminishing economies, which seems to be everyone.

Because of massive droughts around the globe, certain food industries have taken major hits with some on the verge of collapse. In the U.S., the beef industry of the Southwest has struggled to cope with fire after fire burning up usable feed-crops and land since February.  Chicken feed prices have also risen, and because people are buying less mean in the recession, the chicken industry has started to slip.  In an effort to turn this around, the US Department of Agriculture announced plans to buy $40 million of chicken from poultry farmers.  But while we in America are privileged enough to handle such disasters, people in the Horn of Africa have been forced to the edge of survival.

The local cash crops of red sorghum and white maize have increased in Somalia by 30% to 240%.  To put it into perspective sorghum is an important crop for the production of bread, sorghum molasses, and livestock feed in Somalia, Ethiopia, and other developing countries.  This means that not only can the people in the Horn of Africa not make bread, they cannot feed their livestock and have the lost their meat sources as well.

The World Bank continues to raise money for the relief efforts in the Horn of Africa.  They have already raised $1.03 billion but an estimated $1.45 billion is still needed.  Keep in mind, this effort is only to get the people through this devastating time, so there must be some long-term investments made to prevent this from happening again.  With the global climate changing, there is no way of knowing whether or not these massive droughts will diminish or become more prevalent in the future.

As for other parts of the world, pork, shrimp, and fish prices saw a 14.6% increase in China.  Vietnam food prices jumped up 30.6% in the last year.  On the other end of the spectrum, maize prices in Port-au-Prince and Mexico City fell by 19% while rising in other markets. These fluctuations in the food markets are expected to regulate as governments tighten monetary policies.

Photo: Oxfam International