Oxfam report reveals 925 million people go hungry every day
Food prices could double in the next 20 years and demand in 2050 will be 70 percent higher than now, UK charity Oxfam said yesterday, warning of worsening hunger as the global food economy stumbles close to breakdown.
“The food system is pretty well bust in the world,” Oxfam Chief Executive Barbara Stocking told reporters, announcing the launch of the Grow campaign as 925 million people go hungry every day, Reuters say.
“All the signs are that the number of people going hungry is going up,” Stocking said.
Hunger was increasing due to rising food price inflation and oil price hikes, scrambles for land and water, and creeping climate change.
By 2030, the average cost of key crops could increase by between 120 percent and 180 percent, the charity forecasts.
It is the acceleration of a trend which has already seen food prices double in the last 20 years.
Half of the rise to come will be caused by climate change, Oxfam predicts.
It calls on world leaders to improve regulation of food markets and invest in a global climate fund.
“The food system must be overhauled if we are to overcome the increasingly pressing challenges of climate change, spiralling food prices and the scarcity of land, water and energy,” BBC quotes Barbara Stocking, Oxfam’s chief executive, as saying.
Among the many factors continuing to drive rising food prices in the coming decades, Oxfam predicts that climate change will have the most serious impact.
Ahead of the UN climate summit in South Africa in December, it calls on world leaders to launch a global climate fund, “so that people can protect themselves from the impacts of climate change and are better equipped to grow the food they need”.
Food prices are forecast to increase by something in the range of 70 to 90 percent by 2030 before taking into account the effects of climate change, which would roughly double price rises again, Oxfam said.
“Now we have entered an age of growing crisis, of shock piled upon shock: vertiginous food price spikes and oil price hikes, devastating weather events, financial meltdowns and global contagion,” Oxfam said in a report.
Entitled “Growing a Better Future: Food Justice in a Resource-Constrained World,” the report said: “The scale of the challenge is unprecedented, but so is the prize: a sustainable future in which everyone has enough to eat.”
Oxfam believes one way to tame food price inflation is to limit speculation in agricultural commodity futures markets. It also opposed support for using food as a feedstock for biofuels.
“Financial speculation must be regulated, and support dismantled for biofuels that displace food,” it said.
Stocking said she favoured the introduction by regulators of position limits in agricultural commodities futures trading, noting that financial speculation aggravated price volatility.
The report said: “The vast imbalance in public investment in agriculture must be righted, redirecting the billions now being plowed into unsustainable industrial farming in rich countries toward meeting the needs of small-scale food producers in developing countries.”
GOVERNMENTS TO BLAME
The report said the failure of the food system flowed from failures of government to regulate and to invest, which meant that companies, interest groups and elites had been able to plunder resources.
“Now the major powers, the old and the new, must cooperate, not compete, to share resources, build resilience, and tackle climate change,” it said.
“The economic crisis means that we have moved decisively beyond the era of the G8, when a few rich country governments tried to craft global solutions by and for themselves.
“The governments of poorer nations must also have a seat at the table, for they are on the front lines of climate change, where many of the battles — over land, water, and food — are being fought.”
News source: The Daily Star