Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Have your say - join the food crisis debate

Kicking off the debate on the increase of food prices around the world is Justin Macmullan, CI's Head of Campaigns:

"The price of food is rocketing for people around the world.

World leaders are meeting to discuss the issue and there are daily articles and programmes in newspapers and on the radio and television. But despite all the talk and discussion there is no clear concensus as to what should be done.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that there are so many contributing factors to the current crisis.

Long term issues, such as growing prosperity in India and China, have contributed to changing diets and increased demand for food.

Energy prices and the growth in biofuels have certainly had an impact as well.

Poor harvests have also had an impact this year and it appears that financial speculation, an issue that for many people is hidden behind in the obscure world of financial markets, is also pushing up prices.

Two issues are often forgotten or taken for granted in this. Firstly for millions of people the idea of a food crisis is nothing new. Back in 2006, before talk of the current crisis, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) reported that 40 countries were facing food emergencies. Any response to the crisis should address this ongoing crisis that has been as much about poverty as the availability of food.

Secondly, recent events have again underlined how interconnected the world is. Developments in one country or group of countries can have an impact around the world. Countries need to work together, plan ahead and adapt international and national systems - taking responsibilty for how their actions may impact on others, particularly the most vulnerable.

CI has recently released a short statement mapping out some of the causes and possible solutions.

Now we need to hear from you - the public and our member organisations. Join this debate, have your say - we look forward to read your comments and contributions."

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