The Environmental Food Crisis
CURRENT WORLD FOOD CRISIS
The current world food crisis is the result of the combined effects of competition for crop- land from the growth in biofuels, low cereal stocks, high oil prices, speculation in food markets and extreme weather events. The crisis has resulted in a several-fold increase in several central commodity prices, driven 110 million people into poverty and added 44 million more to the already undernourished. Information on the role and constraints of the environment in increasing future food production is urgently needed. While food prices are again declining, they still widely remain above 2004 levels. The objective of this report is to provide an estimate of the potential constraints of envi- ronmental degradation on future world food production and subsequent effects on food prices and food security. It also identifies policy options to increase food security and sustainability in long-term food production.
1917 Just before World War I
FAO Food price index (FFPI)
1951 Rebuilding after World War II
1974 Oil crisis
Index reference: 1977-1979 = 100
Figure 1: Changes in the prices of major commodities from 1900 to 2008 reveal a general decline in food prices, but with several peaks in the past century, the last and most recent one the most extreme. (Source: World Bank, 2009).
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