Food prices are 36% above the levels of a year ago and remain close to the 2008 peak, driven in part by higher fuel costs connected to instability in the Middle East and North Africa. With current double digit food price inflation in crisis-striken Egypt and Syria, a major World Bank
report shows wheat, maize and soya costs have soared, requiring a relaxation of grain export controls and a rethink on biofuels.
"Already 44 million people have fallen into poverty since June 2010. If the food price index rises by just another 10% we estimate another 10 million people that fall into extreme poverty. And a 30% increase would add 34 million more people to the world's poor, who now number 1,2 billion" said World Bank President Robert Zoellick while presenting the World Bank's Food Price Watch
Eager to capitalise on rising food and energy prices or shore-up their own country's food security, foreign investors are pouring in to lease or buy huge tracts of cheap land that governments have cleared of people in the developing world. This high-stakes global land rush is essentialy a third wave of outsourcing and is taking place in the largest recipient countries of humanitarian food and development assistance. From Ethiopia's lowlands to the hilltops of Madagascar, vast tracts of farmland and forests are being gobbled up by foreign investors creating super-sized farms.