Global Food Crisis

While many of us in the wealthier parts of the world are busy arguing about just which sub-type of organic lettuce we’re using in our salads, or whether we ought to take an “animal rights” approach versus an “animal welfare” approach to reducing animal suffering in our factory farms, people in other parts of the world face a more fundamental question about food, namely whether they can afford some. And while that problem is faced most obviously by citizens of the world’s poorest nations, nations where starvation is an epidemic, it is also faced to varying degrees in many countries, and even by the poorer citizens of the world’s richest countries.

From Agustino Fontevecchia, writing for Forbes: On The Verge Of A Global Food Crisis.

The global food situation doesn’t look too promising, as floods in Australia and excessively hot weather in Latin America harm harvests, upward pressure is mounting on prices. According to the FAO, a basket tracking the wholesale cost of food commodities such as wheat, corn, rice, vegetable oils, and meats, has already topped 2008’s peak values, reaching 214.5 points (compared to 213.5 on June 2008). And, as the USDA cuts its global grain supply outlook, soybean, corn, and wheat prices have spiked, nearing or passing 30-month highs….

See also Steven Mufson, writing for the Washington Post:
Global effort to calm food prices

Faced with rising international food prices, governments around the world are cooking up measures to protect domestic supplies and keep a lid on prices at home….

Both articles focus primarily on moves by national governments to try to ensure access to food at reasonable prices for their citizens. Is there anything that we, as citizens, can do to help?

About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
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3 Responses to Global Food Crisis

  1. Bill says:

    One suggestion is to grow some of our own food. You can grow a surprisingly large amount of food in a very small area, most of which in the US is devoted to growing grass. Plus, in my opinion, home grown food tastes far better than most of what one buys at the store.

    Another suggestion is to waste less. It’s amazing how much food gets wasted in restaurants. I typically only eat about half of a dinner-time meal because there is too much food for one meal.

    Both of these actions, if done by a large enough population, would increase supply and decrease demand on commercial supplies.

  2. Eric Nadeau says:

    Yes, we should do like France, instead of the military service we should Instore the Agronome Service for 2 years. This way we reduce cost for farmer and government, and we will appreciate more what our farmers or… do for us.

  3. La fourmi says:

    It’s simple : eat less meat !
    When you know 16kg of cereals (corn, soy….) are needed to make 1kg of beef, the answer is easy, isn’t it ?

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