Global Food Crisis

June 27, 2008 • Volume 18, Issue 24
What's causing the rising prices?
By Marcia Clemmitt

Introduction

A mother and her malnourished child wait for treatment on May 22, 2008, at a hospital in drought-stricken northern Uganda, where rising food prices threaten food-relief efforts.  (AFP/Getty Images/Peter Busomoke)
A mother and her malnourished child wait for treatment on May 22, 2008, at a hospital in drought-stricken northern Uganda, where rising food prices threaten food-relief efforts. (AFP/Getty Images/Peter Busomoke)

Food prices have spiked around the world over the past year, bringing hunger and unrest to many developing countries, along with pain at the checkout counter for lower-income American families. In North Korea, for example, where 35 percent of the population is undernourished, the price of the major food staple, rice, soared 186 percent, and overall food prices rose 70 percent. With 2.1 billion people around the world living on less than $2 a day, such price increases may plunge hundreds of millions into malnutrition and starvation. Drought, high oil prices that make food transport pricey and diversion of corn for use as a biofuel all contribute to the price spike. The effect of globalization — which has led poor countries to abandon domestic food crops in favor of commodity crops for export — also has been blamed. The crisis also has sparked international tension over the impact of wealthy nations' farm subsidies and meat-heavy diets, which take many more resources to produce than grain- or legume-based diets.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Food Prices and Supply
Oct. 18, 2011  Rising Food Prices
Jun. 27, 2008  Global Food Crisis
Aug. 04, 1978  Food Inflation
Nov. 01, 1974  World Food Needs
May 10, 1972  Food Prices
Mar. 25, 1970  Green Revolution
Nov. 23, 1966  Consumer Food Dollar
Jul. 28, 1965  World Food Shortages
Feb. 21, 1951  Food Price Subsidies
Jul. 12, 1950  Famine and Food Supply
Feb. 09, 1946  Food Subsidies and Parity Prices
Jul. 17, 1943  Food Supply
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Farm Produce and Commodities
Nutrition