In the first half of 2008, the world was facing the highest food price levels in 30 years and a global food insecurity crisis. Although international food prices have since fallen, they are still above the levels seen in recent years and are expected to remain so. FAO estimates that soaring food prices pushed another 115 million people into chronic hunger in 2007 and 2008, bringing the world total to nearly one billion hungry people. This report explains why food prices increased and the steps needed to ensure that high food prices become an opportunity for developing country farmers to help safeguard world food supplies at affordable prices. It focuses on the extent to which new explanations - biofuel demand, record oil prices and increasing food demand in China and India - can account for the sudden food price inflation as well as the role of traditional market drivers. It also explores why so few producers in developing countries responded by investing more and increasing production. The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets 2009 aims to bring to a wider public an accessible discussion of agricultural commodity market issues and policy matters. It seeks to provide an objective and straightforward treatment of economic issues for all those interested in agricultural commodity market developments and their impact on developing countries. Also published in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.
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