Apr 15

Surging Food Prices Cause Worldwide Instability

Riots erupt in Haiti, Bangladesh, and Egypt as cost of basic food continue to soar. According to World Bank President, Robert Zoellick, rice prices have skyrocketed by 75% globally while the price of wheat has increased by 120% over the past year. This is the current crisis that world leaders will have to address soon. Although many worry about filling their gas tanks, it is more alarming that more people around the world worry about filling their stomach. It is not surprising that some citizens have resorted to violence to find a solution to their problem. Even the most calm and patient parent will go to the streets when his own child goes hungry. A father will go through hale and storm just to feed his family — even steal if it comes down to it. Can our world leaders solve this crisis?

Many experts believe that the rising cost of basic food is due to the push to replace traditional fuel with ethanol which comes from corn. As the price of fuel increase, the new demand for corn as ethanol has thrown off world food prices. However, environmentalists argue that demand for corn is not the problem. The continuous rise in fuel prices is the actual culprit considering that every facet of food production, from processing to packaging to transportation, is affected.

Meanwhile, the increase in demand, most especially in China and India, is another reason for the food price hikes. Add all of these together with the “climate shocks” that damage food supply around the world and we we have a crisis. Should we start worrying? Maybe. This is one of the most critical challenges the world now faces. Question is . . . are the world leaders up to the challenge? Haiti’s prime minister was kicked out last Saturday. Some more will follow if the crisis continues.

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