Food Fight

The UN made an ominous prediction that 2011 would be a year of food riots around the world.  Rioting has been predicted even in Britain – something I doubt will happen, not a very British reaction to rising prices is it? We just moan and pay.

Food grain price increases will of course affect developing nations much more and I have seen prices rise on an almost monthly basis in India although the government does often step in.  Increased prices don’t greatly pinch the middle classes but I doubt the majority will pass on wage increases to compensate low income workers – the segment of the population who are already exploited by paying the equivalent of £10 per litre of milk as a proportion of their income.

While earlier droughts and floods have been natural causes of food inflation much of the increase has also been due to speculative markets.  The UN has data showing the correlation between increased speculation in food grain commodities and increased food grain prices. Surely this practice should be made unacceptable?  Unlike chocolate or coffee, food grains are a necessity not a luxury and irresponsible speculation means millions of people will starve or live in deteriorating poverty conditions.  Women are often the first to suffer from malnourishment and the related health problems.

Unregulated free markets are not transparent enough to govern themselves and it is really sinister that it is perfectly acceptable for investors to become richer directly as a consequence of pricing people out of the food grain market.


3 Comments to “Food Fight”

  1. I read once that the world already produces enough food to feed it three times over. The reason prices are so high is that it is better value for big corporate food producers to dump this food in the sea and get better prices for whatever is left.

    So, if all governments in the world made it illegal to dump any food stuff in the sea, maybe that would solve the problem?

  2. And have you read that China is buying up fertile land in Africa?

  3. There is grave concern from the agricultural bodies here in the UK as wheat crops are very poor with the lack of rainfall. Climate Change is having a real effect on global crops here.
    China seems to be trying to take over Africa.

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