Staple Food Prices Could More than Double by 2030, Oxfam Says

The prices of staple foods, which have already reached record levels in 2011, could more than double over the next two decades, a new Oxfam report says. According to the report, “Growing a Better Future”, a combination of factors — including climate change, diminished natural resources worldwide, population growth, and an increased use of crops for biofuels — could trigger a new era of permanent food crisis. The cost of key grains such as maize could rise 180 percent by 2030, with more than half of that increase the result of climate change. “This will prove disastrous for food importing poor countries, and raises the prospect of a wholesale reversal in human development,” the report says. The effects will be felt most severely by the poor, who already spend as much as 80 percent of their income on food, the report notes. Volatile food prices have pushed an estimated 44 million people into poverty in the last year, Oxfam says. The international charity called on world leaders to build a new global governance that better regulates commodities markets to contain price volatility, an increase in global food reserves, and an end to subsidies for biofuel crops.