Announcing this December 2010 rise in food prices, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stated that it was the steepest since records began in 1990. Rice prices shot up to a 27-month high in countries such as Bangladesh and Indonesia, two of the largest rice importers in Asia, with Bangladesh doubling imports due to panicked buying.
In Sri Lanka, where floods have just displaced over a million people, rice prices were also up amidst grave concerns over the fate of the staple crop after tens of thousands of acres of agricultural land were destroyed. Floods in Victoria, Australia have also devastated potential harvests of fruit and vegetable growers, while heavy rains and floods damaged swaths across southern Africa, with Lesotho having already lost 60% of her crops.
China’s food producing regions are also suffering from the worst drought in 60 years, decreasing yields across 4 million hectares. In an effort to address both the food shortages and the escalation of tensions that could result in conflict, the FAO along with France, current leader of the G20 group, have called for more regulations to help stabilize prices and food supplies.
During a joint press conference, FAO head Jacques Diouf noted the unrest that has already been seen in some parts of the world, as French Farm Minister Bruno Le Maire stated, “We share the same view that today, the real risk of a global food crisis exists.” South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak similarly highlighted the need to address this emerging issue as he stated, “The likelihood of a global food crisis is rising due to climate change. We need to set up national strategies and research to tackle the issue.”
We appreciate the concern of the United Nations, South Korea and governments worldwide seeking ways to stabilize this grave situation on which lives and livelihoods depend.
May humane and constructive food production policies be swiftly implemented to ensure the nourishing sustenance of people. Speaking about rising food costs and those who suffer from hunger, Supreme Master Ching Hai during an October 2009 videoconference in Germany expressed deep concern while offering a solution that would address all needs.