Frederic Mousseau, OI Policy Director, is the author of the Chapter III of the new World Disaster Report published by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). This new report warns that the world's poorest people are at serious risk from rocketing food prices and volatile global markets.
High Food Price Crisis
The food price spike of 2007-2008 pushed the total number of hungry people to over one billion - 1/6th of the world's population. Since then, food prices have continued an upward trend, reaching an all-time peak in January 2011. In developing countries, these increases mean millions have been pushed into poverty and malnutrition.
Food prices change in response to such things as natural shocks, energy prices, biofuels demand, speculation, and trade policy. Oil price increases affect the price of fertilizers as well as the cost of shipping and transportation. The demand for biofuels such as corn ethanol has increased world demand for particular crops and changed crop distribution. Following the 2008 financial crisis, many investors shifted funds from mortgage markets to agriculture commodities creating another demand shock that increased commodity prices. Additionally, since the 1980s, many countries have moved from being self-sufficient to net food importers. This increases their exposure to supply and price risks instigated abroad.
Achieving Regional Integration: The Key to Win the Fight Against Hunger in West Africa assesses the relevance and potential of regional institutions and mechanisms in reducing hunger and undernutrition in West Africa - where chronic hunger remains pervasive - decades after the devastating droughts of the 1970s. The report analyzes the role regional institutions have in the fight against hunger and argues that, despite weaknesses, the existence and commitment of regional institutions is key.
High food prices in 2007-2008 threatened the livelihoods and food security of billions of people worldwide for whom getting enough food to eat was already a daily struggle. All over the world, individuals, civil society groups, governments and international organizations took action to cope with the crisis triggered by skyrocketing food prices.
The 2008 Food Price Crisis: Rethinking Food Security Policies, the latest in the G-24 Discussion Paper Series, is a timely report as member states of the United Nations come together 16-18 November, 2009 at the World Summit on Food Security in Rome, in an effort to find lasting solutions to world hunger. Intended to inform current policy discussions on how to address ever-growing food insecurity, the report contends that it is essential to examine the structural causes of growing food insecurity and to understand the dynamics that have propelled the food crisis.
1.02 billion - people worldwide are undernourished
84% price increase - in wheat between July 2010 and 2011
87% price increase - in wheat between 2007 and 2008