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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

The High Food Price Challenge: A Review of Responses to Combat Hunger

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.

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