“The poorest people from Kansas to Yemen are suffering the impacts of high and volatile food prices,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America. “Food price volatility has pushed tens of millions of people into poverty and contributed to violence and instability that is dangerous for global security and costly to American taxpayers. Meanwhile Congress, the Obama administration and the private sector have their heads in the sand hoping for it all to go away.”
Food prices have hovered near an all time peak since late 2010 sending tens of millions of people into poverty. After decades of steady progress in the fight against hunger, the number of people without enough to eat is again rising and could soon again top one billion. Leaders from the US and other G-20 nations have delivered little more than band-aid solutions giving little hope to struggling communities.
The map displays countries that are highly vulnerable to price spikes, have seen price spikes contribute to violence or unrest, or have suffered extreme weather events that have contributed to price hikes. Some examples of the impacts the map reveals include:
Yemen: One-third of the population -7.2 million people- suffers from acute hunger. In the capital city, imported wheat flour prices were 117% higher in May of 2011 than the previous year contributing to unrest in the country.
Tanzania: Despite a strong economic performance, more than half the population lives in extreme poverty and is vulnerable to increasing food prices.
Mozambique: In 2010, after record harvests, Mozambique was still slated to import almost a quarter of its food. Food prices are volatile because of both domestic production and import dependence.
Russia: In most of Russia’s regions, the price of the average food basket went up by 20-30 percent between July 2010 and March 2011. Russian food prices remained high even after the Russian government introduced a grain export ban that led to a surge in prices on the international markets.
Guatemala: Nearly half of children under 5 in Guatemala are chronically undernourished, and the proportion of the population suffering from malnutrition has been rising. In rural areas, up to 70 percent of children are malnourished.