Rising Food Prices
Food is the most fundamental need in daily lives. This need even comes before clothing, shelter or social interactions. Without food, the human body cannot function properly, and without balanced nutrition, children are unable to develop at a healthy rate. The recent increase in food price has tremendously negative effect on everyone, especial people in poverty.

Global food prices for meats and dairy products have been rising over the last five years. According to the Bank’s Food Price Index, the price of food in October 2013 was six percent lower than last year, but was still not far from the food price peak in August 2012. However, food price peaked again in December and became the third highest on record (United Nations agency.)  The food price increase makes it more difficult for people in poverty to finance the household. With high unemployment rate along with high inflation rate in developing countries, many people lost their ability to support the household when their incomes remain unchanged.

The reason for the increased food price is the sharp increase in demand. However, the supply for food has stayed the same. Most of food supply comes from developing nations. The increase indicates the inability to meet the demand for food in developing countries. In regions heavily affected by poverty, farmers do not have access to sophisticated machinery and seeds needed to effectively make use of their resources.

The first step will be to help farmers get proper equipment and knowledge. This is essential to solve this crisis. In the long run, they can produce food more efficiently and more effectively and drive up the food supply and the food price will decrease as the result. The second step is to help them allocate their income to better improve their farming equipment without further income support. The third step is to create a network to connect them to one another so they can share experience and form alliance to deal with crisis as a whole and not as separated entities.

Agriculture is one of the major exports in developing countries. By improving agriculture, the developing countries are not only able to have food for domestic concern but also able to spur economic growth.

– Phong Pham

Sources: New York Times, Food and Agriculture Organization, World Bank, United Nations
Photo: The Guardian