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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.


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.


Guerre et spoliation couverture

Guerre et spoliation : la prise de controle des terres agricoles ukrainiennes

Depuis l’invasion russe en février 2022, la guerre en Ukraine est au centre des questions de politique étrangère et des médias. Cependant, peu d’attention a été accordée à une question majeure qui est au cœur du conflit : qui contrôle les terres agricoles dans le pays connu comme le « grenier de l’Europe » ?

War and Theft report cover

War and Theft: The Takeover of Ukraine’s Agricultural Land

The report from the Oakland Institute exposes the financial interests and the dynamics at play in Ukraine leading to further concentration of land and finance.

Report cover

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 Brazil report cover

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,...



UN Secretary-General António Guterres observes the WFP ship SSI Invincible 2

The Black Sea Grain Initiative: When the United Nations Brokers Profits for Corporations, Bankers, and Oligarchs

Friday, May 19, 2023 Frederic Mousseau

The top destination for Ukraine's agricultural exports is the European Union, with China being second. Spain is the largest recipient in Europe. Instead of offering relief, Ukrainian exports are threatening the livelihoods of millions of European farmers.

Rolls of dollars in a field

38 Billion Dollar Question – Who is Driving the Destructive Industrial Agriculture Model?

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 Frederic Mousseau

Among the largest institutional investors in fossil fuels, Blackrock and Vanguard are also major shareholders of eight of the largest agrochemical companies.

African Development Bank Vice President Dr. Beth Dunford

The African Development Bank Must Work for Africans, Not Agrochemical Corporations

Thursday, September 15, 2022 Frederic Mousseau and Andy Currier

Instead of doubling down on failed models, now is the time to support solutions that African farmers are calling for across the continent.

Cattle grazing in an area of the Amazon in November, 2015

Brazil: Time to End the Ravages of Industrial Agriculture in the Cerrado and the Amazon

Thursday, September 1, 2022 Frederic Mousseau with Ana Gaitan-Uribe

As the climate emergency gets more devastating everyday, we can’t waste time waiting for action to end the ravages caused by industrial agriculture in Brazil.