Press Statement

STATEMENT: Food Price Crisis 101

Causes and Solutions to the Crisis

Washington, D.C. – Food prices and political instability are rising sharply in a world agricultural system that is in transition and under pressure from changing diets, market turmoil, and rising energy costs. Food prices have risen 83 percent worldwide since 2005 and some staples such as rice and wheat have risen 141 percent and 130 percent respectively in the last year alone. In an increasingly resource-constrained world, there is little margin for error. Even in the months prior to the current crisis, over 830 million people worldwide went to bed each night malnourished and hungry.

Confronting the current crisis and achieving lasting global food security will require immediate attention and long-term investment. The United States and the international community must construct a proactive response that will invest appropriately in farmers at home and agricultural development in the developing world. Opening world markets, with appropriate safeguards, will be a key component of our strategy. Together, these actions will help deliver a stable and affordable food supply and farm income for millions.

Dramatic increases in food prices disproportionately affect the poor both in the United States and abroad. The purchasing power of families, food banks, and aid agencies erodes as prices rise, and they cannot keep pace with rising costs. Food banks and soup kitchens in the United States are reporting dwindling stocks and a 20 percent increase in visitors since April of last year. And in developing countries, where 60 to 80 percent of a family’s income is spent on food, every 20 percent increase in food prices will push 100 million more people into the ranks of the poorest of the poor living on less than one dollar a day.

The current situation cannot be blamed exclusively on a single cause, such as biofuels, without taking into account the multiple external forces exerting pressure on a global agricultural system under strain and in transition. Click on the link below to read more about the specific causes and solutions to the crisis.