Global Food Crisis
Does it feel as though food is getting pricier at your local store? Everyone, from rice farmers in Indonesia to shoppers at New York’s Dean & Deluca, is seeing their food bills go up. Recent studies show that global food prices have skyrocketed, putting 36 countries into crisis according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
Since February, deadly clashes over high prices have occurred in Mexico City, Senegal and Egypt, to name only a few. The recent rise in prices isn’t the result of just one event, but is rather the result of an increasingly global economy. In a potent geographical mix of cultural demands and physical changes, growth in demand in China and India, increasing oil prices, and bizarre weather patterns all contribute to this trend-one that doesn’t seem to be slowing anytime soon.
While food prices reached an all time high during June 2008, the rise in commodities costs had begun climbing as early as 2001. With rising oil prices, the European Union and the United States have seen sharp climbs in the demand for biofuels–fuels produced from renewable resources–, including ethanol. This year, a quarter of the U.S. corn production went to production of biofuels, rather than into people’s stomachs. Less supply means higher costs and, in staples like corn, wheat and rice, that means higher prices for just about everything else made from them, such as pasta
n Italy, croissants in France or pork dumplings in China.