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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, the volatility of food prices continues to impact hunger and poverty trends, especially in low-income food deficit countries.

Overview

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported a 45% increase in the world food price index during the 2008 food price crisis. Similar volatility was seen in 2011 and in 2022.

Food prices change in response to various factors including speculation, climatic shocks, energy prices, demand for agrofuels, and trade policy. Oil price increases affect the price of fertilizers as well as the cost of shipping and transportation. Demand for agrofuels such as corn ethanol increases demand for particular crops and changes crop distribution. Following the 2008 financial crisis, many investors shifted funds from mortgage markets to agriculture commodities creating a demand shock that increased commodity prices. Since, speculation on food products, including so-called future commodity markets where speculators bet on future prices, has remained a major factor exacerbating price volatility.

Many low-income countries, especially the so-called Least Developed Countries, are net food importers, which makes them highly vulnerable to price volatility on global food markets.

What we are doing about it

The Oakland Institute is committed to producing rigorous research and analysis on food and agriculture as it is only an in-depth objective understanding of the problems that can lead the right solutions to find their way into on-the-ground policy.

Publications

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Continued Price Instability Questions Reliance on Global Food Markets

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.

Achieving Regional Integration: The Key to Win the Fight Against Hunger in West Africa

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...

Food & Energy Sovereignty Now: Brazilian Grassroots Position on Agroenergy

While Brazil's leadership on biofuels - particularly sugarcane-based ethanol - has been held as a global model for sustainable biomass production, a new report from the Oakland Institute and Terra de Direitos, Food & Energy Sovereignty Now: Brazilian Grassroots Position on Agroenergy , describes the opposition that biofuels face from the Brazilian social movements and civil society, as formulated at the First National Agroenergy Conference,...

The Status of International Food Aid Negotiations

In October 2005, the Oakland Institute published its report, Food Aid or Food Sovereignty? Ending World Hunger in our Time. Since then the issue of food aid has taken center stage in foreign aid, global hunger, and development discourse, sparking interest and debate amongst policy makers, media, and civil society internationally.

The 2008 Food Price Crisis: Rethinking Food Security Policies

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...

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