Advertise with

World’s poorest face soaring food prices
World’s poorest face soaring food prices

World’s poorest face soaring food prices


Sep 23rd 2011, 10:23

Report warns new round of food inflation with severe hikes in the price of basic foodstuffs is plunging many of the world’s poorest people into deeper poverty and into situations of severe hunger and malnutrition 

A new round of food inflation with severe hikes in the price of basic foodstuffs is plunging many of the world’s poorest people into deeper poverty and into situations of severe hunger and malnutrition, warns a report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) released yesterday.

The IFRC report follows a forecast from the South African National Agricultural Marketing Council that food inflation is to rise at a faster rate from next month to November.

"Higher commodity prices and increasing costs in the food value chain are gradually working their way into food prices, and, given the typical lag between producer and consumer prices, it is likely that food prices will increase at a faster rate over the outlook period," the marketing council said this month.

The IFRC report said the world’s poorest were at serious risk from rocketing food prices and volatile global markets. Among the foods worst affected were rice, maize, wheat, oil, sugar and salt.

Earlier this month, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson complained at the Food and Allied Workers Union congress in Johannesburg about food price increases in SA, particularly for wheat and maize . She was reacting to the marketing council’s quarterly food monitor, which warned that food and beverage inflation from July last year to July this year was at its highest level since July 2009. The food inflation rate for this period was 7,4%.

The IFRC’s World Disasters Report 2011, launched in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday, also found that "food prices were hitting the alarming highs of the 2008 crisis".

"It’s profoundly concerning that we seem to be going backwards in terms of ensuring basic food is available and affordable," IFRC secretary-general Bekele Geleta said.

Among the factors fuelling the latest round of food inflation identified by the report were speculative commodity trading, rapidly growing populations, climate change and a sharp decrease in domestic agricultural production due to a lack of appropriate investment and ineffective governance.

The recent bursting of the US property bubble had also led to a surge in investors around the world seeking new opportunities in food commodity futures. "Global financial and trade speculations can have a dangerous impact on food prices," Mr Geleta said.

He said food stocks were often bought by traders and stored away in depots and warehouses in anticipation of higher prices and profits. "It’s unacceptable that a trader in London or New York can determine whether or not a father in a country such as India can afford to feed his family," he said.

Ms Joemat-Pettersson told the African agriculture ministers’ meeting in Johannesburg last week that much of Africa was affected by price volatility that had the harshest effect on poor people.

Such households spend up to 70% of their income on food as a result. Price instability was estimated to have pushed 44-million people into extreme poverty and hunger since June last year. 

Related News

AVI hit by constrained consumer spending
13/03/2019 - 12:42
Food and beverage company AVI Limited felt the pinch of constrained consumer spending as income from its shoe brands Green Cross and Spitz slid in the half year to December, resulting in revenue in the footwear and apparel category declining by 9.2 percent to R1.14billion.

Shares in Five Roses owner plummet after dismal trading update
28/01/2019 - 08:56
Fast moving consumer goods group AVI warned shareholders that its interim sales were flat and its headline earnings would decline by up to 7%.

What FMCG companies can learn from the online trading industry
18/12/2018 - 08:09
Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) are, by their very nature, products that are designed to be sold quickly at a relatively low cost. Unlike luxury items that often need to sit on the shelf for an extended period of time in order to build up some exclusivity, FMCG products need to be sold as quickly as they’re advertised. With speed being the key ingredient in the FMCG industry, any weak links in the chain can harm a manufacturer's bottom-line.

Listeriosis outbreak haunts Tiger Brands
23/11/2018 - 10:06
The Listeriosis outbreak in South Africa came back to haunt Tiger Brands, with the group reporting a 26 percent decline in headline earnings per share (Heps) to 1 587 cents a share during the year to end September, while revenue fell 9 percent to R15.87.

Black Friday spikes turnover for SMEs
22/11/2018 - 10:50
Even though it is tempting to relegate Black Friday as just another marketing gimmick, the reality is that it signifies the start of a month-long consumer spending frenzy that significantly boosts retail revenues.