Oxfam has produced a new report that predicts the prices of staple foods will more than double over the next 20-years unless world leaders make concerted efforts to improve agricultural output and do more to stop climate change.
The report titled “Growing a better future” warns of a looming global food crisis as the average international price of staples such as maize increases by 120-180% by 2030 and says that half of this increase will be down to climate change affecting crop production.
Oxfam says that the world’s poorest people already spend 80% of their meagre daily income on food and so will be hit hardest by the increases.
“By 2050 demand for food will rise by 70% yet our capacity to increase production is declining,” the report says. “The average growth rate in agricultural yields has almost halved since 1990 and is set to decline to a fraction of one percent in the next decade.”
Here in East Africa alone an estimated 8 million people already face food shortages while rising costs have been behind political unrest in North Africa and Uganda this year.
“We are sleepwalking towards an avoidable age of crisis,” said Oxfam’s chief executive Barbara Stocking. “One in seven people on the planet go hungry every day despite the fact that the world is capable of feeding everyone.”
“The food system must be overhauled if we are to overcome the increasingly pressing challenges of climate change, spiralling food prices and the scarcity of land, water and energy,” she said.