Only a few years ago the world’s farmers were lamenting decades of falling prices. Then, in 2006, prices of the world’s most popular food staples – wheat, corn, sugar and rice – began trickling upward. They rose full blast in 2007, where people struggled to pay 20% more on average for their food. In many countries in early 2008, the food bill has reportedly shot up 40 percent.
There are a number of reasons for this. Changing diets from economic growth in China and India, bad weather, rising oil prices, higher shipping costs, and the economic reaction to rich countries setting aside crops like corn and wheat to produce ethanol gas. And of course, the decline of the U.S. dollar which most staple products are still traded in.
Read John Liebhardt's global roundup of the food crisis as seen through the eyes of bloggers featured on Global Voices.
Global Voices posts about the Global Food Crisis
May 21 – Southeast Asia: Coping with the rice and food crisis
May 05 – Haiti: finding relief for hunger in children
May 03 – Iran: Inflation and Untouchable Tomatoes
May 02 – Global: The price of food, the cost of despair
May 02 – Americas: Insufficient Actions and Solutions for Food Crisis
May 01 – Arabeyes: Looming Food Crisis
Apr 29 – Caribbean: Food Shortages
Apr 28 – Southeast Asia: Rice and food price crisis
Apr 23 – Japan: Where has all the butter gone?
Apr 18 – Haiti, Congo, and the politics of hunger
Apr 18 – Korea: Rice Crisis in the past and at the present
Apr 15 – DRC: Fifth fatal crash in under a year, food prices the real disaster
Apr 12 – Southeast Asia: Rising price of rice
Apr 10 – Bangladesh: Hidden Hunger
Apr 01 – Japan: The Rising Price of Food
Mar 13 – Tajikistan: Hunger to Replace Cold and Darkness
Mar 11 – Arabeyes: Rising Cost of Living
Special coverage: In Egypt, the rising cost of food has been a major issue in a general strike and protests that have rocked the country in past weeks. See our special coverage page, Egypt General Strike 2008.
On YouTube, toddgsapp shows us a video of the process by which a family makes mud cakes, not only to eat themselves, but also to sell. These dirt cookies or mud cakes are made out of dirt, shortening and salt, and is sometimes their only means of sustenance. (Read more, here)
Zainab Bangura, Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone, sends a video message to world citizens via the online activism website Avaaz.org urging everyone to support a petition in support of solutions to the global food crisis.
A newsmerick from Aparna Ray in India:
“Now the biggest threat facing our Nation,”
Said the Minister, with slight hesitation,
Isn't border onslaughts,
Nor vile terror plots.”
“Then what's it?” I asked, “It's inflation!”
Photo above is of rice at a wet market in the Philippines in 2007, by Flickr user Hulagway.