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Food Prices Spike Worldwide: And They’re Going Higher

Food Prices Spike Worldwide: And They’re Going Higher

The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) yesterday released the bad news: food prices are the highest they’ve ever been. And they’re going to get higher.

The UN releases an annual index which calculates prices based on the current markets of 55 products worldwide, including rice, milk, wheat, sugar and cheese. This index reached an all-time high of 214.7 in December of 2010, surpassing the previous high of 213.5 set in June of 2008 when a global food crisis sparked riots in countries such as Somalia and Haiti – where the populous turned to eating mud for sustenance.

Several factors have led to the recent price spikes, including poor recent grain crops in Canada, Russia and the Ukraine; poor soybean crops due to drought in Argentina; and flooding affecting wheat crops in Australia. Corn prices have also risen, partially due to the increasing diverson of corn crops to biofuels rather than food. Prices could continue to rise, particularly after the recent flooding in Australia and its looming effect on sugar prices – already at record levels.

The increases are trickling into your pocketbooks in various ways. The cost of food items in the grocery store is increasing, whether you’re paying more for the same amount or paying the same amount for less (such as in the case of many chocolate products). 
This, of course, is only a worry if you can afford to buy chocolate in the first place. Those hardest hit by the price increases are not those choosing between Dairy Milk and Crunchie; it is those who are struggling on pennies a day, for whom even the basics are out of reach.  As a result, there are growing fears of social unrest as the most basic of human rights, the right to not go hungry, is denied to more and more across the world.

The UN is also warning that with the population on its way to 10 billion, food production needs to rise upwards of 70%. Is this possible? Will prices drive people to change their habits, go hungry, or pursue social change on a larger scale?

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Photo By P.K.Niyogi via Wikimedia Commons

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164 comments

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7:49AM PST on Mar 1, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

8:40PM PDT on May 29, 2011

and they seem to have spiked again

5:08PM PST on Feb 17, 2011

A year ago, or so, I read that economies (or the corporations that control governments) artificially jack prices up. I was shocked then, and I still am, that there are people in the world who don't care about their fellow man. When people get hungry enough, they will finally rebel, and governments can get toppled that way.

1:48PM PST on Feb 14, 2011

Noted. Thank you.

10:32AM PST on Jan 31, 2011

jane left a comment on the following article:

"Surprised???"

That depends! Why do you think it is happening?

9:54AM PST on Jan 31, 2011

"Once again food prices spike, people go hungry and corporate greeds wins. "

Ever stop to think that cost of production went up??

12:26AM PST on Jan 22, 2011

Surprised???

2:22PM PST on Jan 18, 2011

Once again food prices spike, people go hungry and corporate greeds wins.

8:42AM PST on Jan 14, 2011

Grow an apartment/balcony garden? Get real. Some don't even have a sunlit window or balcony. Balcony vegs could sustain not even one life let alone a family. Stop feeding grain to animals? What. Let them starve to death during the winter months. Yup. Real smart. I own a herbicide free Canadian farm, livestock, garden. Worked, earned, saved for it. I don't judge others not so lucky & its not been easy. Stop breeding? That's the edict of all life so good luck on that>Most births are in undeveloped countries where there is famine, disease, which cuts down the population explosion, & multiple rapes.Yes, allowing copulation often for-survival-of-self-and-born-offspring (applies to women also a natural edict). They know famine, survival far better than a bunch of computer nerds/addicts or opinionated-pontificators that know all the answers. FACT: We have unprecedented global warming coupled with unproductive-apartment-dwelling-paper-pushing-computer-keying-populations who build nothing, grow nothing & mainly have marketing/selling jobs & purchasing power, all blanketing this planet. We have Global crop destruction(s) due to floods, hurricanes, etc. which affects crops, food, animals all 'effects' of global warming. Also polluted oceans, rivers, lakes with man-made pollutants plus uncontrolled Corporate Greed that WILL destroy us all. We can't stop it. We can't make the ocean waters recede or the weather behave. All I do is try to make my ecological footprint as s

3:11AM PST on Jan 14, 2011

You can't go veg because there's not enough healthy soil around to grow the veggies we need to feed the world. So you veggans stop saying that. It's mostly because of idiots buying more fast food instead of cooking at home and eating healthy. The less processed food bought then the less food companies will have to buy in order to make your crappy junk food.

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