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Interactive map shows impact of spiralling food prices

Interactive map shows impact of spiralling food prices

A new interactive map published by Oxfam today shows how poor communities across the world are being hurt by high and volatile food prices. The “food price pressure points map” provides a global snapshot of the impacts of the global food price crisis.

High and volatile food prices are one of the biggest political issues of 2011. The pressure points map can be embedded directly into any website to give audiences an easy way to raise their voice and take action on the food price crisis. The tool is part of Oxfam’s global GROW campaign to fix the broken food system.

“High food prices have crunched incomes for poor people and helped to spark instability and violence around the world,” said John Stansfield, Advocacy Director for Oxfam New Zealand. “From Ethiopia to East Timor, the pressures of food price volatility on poor communities are staring us straight in the face, yet world leaders have not done enough to help.”

Food prices have hovered near an all time peak since late 2010 sending tens of millions of people into poverty. After decades of steady progress in the fight against hunger, the number of people without enough to eat is again rising and could soon again top one billion. The world’s industrialised nations have delivered little more than band-aid solutions to poor people struggling to cope with climate change, which is causing failed harvests, and the inability to afford food when they can’t grow enough themselves.

The map displays countries that are highly vulnerable to price spikes, have seen price spikes contribute to violence or unrest, or have suffered extreme weather events that have contributed to price hikes. Some examples of the impacts the map reveals include:

Ethiopia: Eighty per cent of the population relies on agriculture for their livelihoods; however, food production is undermined by increasingly extreme and erratic weather – including the tragic drought that has caused the current regional food crisis – and chronic under-investment in rural communities.

East Timor: A low-income, food-deficit country with a high poverty rate means many people suffer when food prices are high. Most of the population is engaged in rain-fed agriculture, which is vulnerable to drought and erratic rainfall, making food production unpredictable.

Pakistan: Nearly two-thirds of the population spend between 50 and 70 per cent of income on food, making them vulnerable to rising prices.

Russia: In most of Russia’s regions, the price of the average food basket went up by 20-30 per cent between July 2010 and March 2011. Russian food prices remained high even after the Russian government introduced a grain export ban that led to a surge in prices on the international markets.

Guatemala: Nearly half of children under five in Guatemala are chronically undernourished and the proportion of the population suffering from malnutrition has been rising. In rural areas, up to 70 per cent of children are malnourished.

“People around the globe are clamouring for bold action from world leaders and getting little more than speeches in return,” said Stansfield. “Words sound nice but they don’t feed hungry families. It’s time for decision makers to step back from their podiums and get to work.”


© Scoop Media

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