In its annual report, the Red Cross warned of a possible surge in “food-related violence” due to soaring food prices. It suggests that several factors are contributing to the rise is prices:
Drought and climate change have led to a slow down in the growth of agricultural production: in Australia, wheat production plummeted by 52% between 2004 and 2006, and grain production dropped by 13% in the United States and 14% in the European Union in the same period. The use of mainly corn-based biofuels is also contributing significantly to the current shortages. Lastly, changes in eating habits in the West and in the so-called emerging markets primarily in Asia, along with rapid urbanization, have driven up demand for food, putting further strain on supply. Speculation on food commodities is also a major destabilizing factor.
There’s been a warning of food riots every month, from different sources. Sounds like things may destabilize in parts of the world by the end of the year.