As Food Prices Hit New Record Highs, Which Countries Are Most At Risk Of Hunger & Shortage?

wheat field photo

photo: Satoshi Kaya/Creative Commons

Two important pieces on food security today: 1) The UN Food & Agricultural Organization has reiterated it's warnings that food prices are going to rise throughout 2011 and that prices have already hit record highs; and 2) the Environmental Working Group and ActionAid have released a new interactive map detailing the hot spots in the emerging global food crisis.Climate Progress quotes from the FAO summary on food price rises:

FAO expects a tightening of the global cereal supply and demand balance in 2010/11. In the face of a growing demand and a decline in world cereal production in 2010, global cereal stocks this year are expected to fall sharply because of a decline in inventories of wheat and coarse grains. International cereal prices have increased sharply with export prices of major grains up at least 70 percent from February last year.

"Unexpected oil price spikes could further exacerbate an already precarious situation in food markets," said David Hallam, Director of FAO's Trade and Market Division.

"This adds even more uncertainty concerning the price outlook just as plantings for crops in some of the major growing regions are about to start," he added.

Remember that food shortages in one region can have global impact viz China's wheat shortages could influence world prices.

Indeed, in touting the release of their interactive map ActionAid's Marie Brill says,

We are teetering on a full-fledged global crisis and one trigger--rising oil prices, a spike in the cost of rice, an export ban, or a climate-related shortage of crops--could be the tipping point.

As for the interactive map, here's a glimpse (in non interactive mode):

grain importing and exporting nations map

As you roll over countries data pops up on percent changes in cereal production and imports/exports for 2010. Other panes show countries with vulnerable economies (below) as well as places with noteworthy local food price rises.

vulnerable economies and hunger map

The map isn't revelatory in terms of which countries are at risk, it largely coincides with other recent maps of countries with high food security risk, but it is a compelling presentation.

More on Food Security:
Afghanistan & Sub-Saharan Africa Have World's Greatest Food Security Risk
How Will Food Security Be Affected by Climate Change, Energy Constraints & Water Availability?

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