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Food prices set to double for poorest  

Leading charity Oxfam has warned that prices for staple foods are set to double in the next 20 years unless action is taken by world leaders to reform the global food system.

Oxfam says that the average cost of the most important crops for the developing world will increase by between 120 and 180 per cent, with half of the increase set to be caused by climate change. The charity is calling on world leaders to improve regulation of the global food markets and invest globally in a climate fund to mitigate the effects of climate change on the production of these staple crops.

The Oxfam report, entitled Growing a Better Future, highlights four ‘food insecurity hotspots’ which are already struggling to feed their citizens: Guatemala, India, Azerbaijan and East Africa, where up to eight million people are facing chronic food shortages due to drought.

The warnings have been echoed by the World Bank, which said that rapidly rising food prices are pushing millions to the brink of poverty. It said that in April, food prices were 36 per cent above last year’s levels – a process which was particularly driven by the political upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa.

Oxfam wants nations across the world to agree to new rules in the global food markets designed to ensure that the poorest people in the world do not go hungry. These include:

–         transparency in commodities markets and regulation in the futures markets

–         an upscaling of food reserves 

–         an end to policies promoting biofuels 

–         investment in smallholder farmers, women in particular 

“The food system must be overhauled if we are to overcome the increasingly pressing challenges of climate change, spiralling food prices and the scarcity of land, water and energy,” Barbara Stocking, Oxfam’s chief executive, told BBC News. “We are sleepwalking towards an avoidable age of crisis. One in seven people on the planet go hungry every day despite the fact that the world is capable of feeding everyone.”

The report also highlights the need for food security across the world, and the need to address the issues surrounding climate change – both of which are issues tackled in Emerald Knight’s range of investment projects. Click here for more details.

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