Source: The Guardian
Soaring prices for staples is thought to have been one of the factors contributing to unrest in Egypt and Tunisia
7 February 2011 - World leaders are ignoring potentially disastrous shortages of key crops, and their failures are fuelling political instability in key regions, food experts have warned.
Food prices have hit record levels in recent weeks, according to the United Nations, and soaring prices for staples such as grains over the past few months are thought to have been one of the factors contributing to an explosive mix of popular unrest in Egypt and Tunisia.
The crises in those countries have served as a stark example of what can happen when food prices spiral out of control and add to existing political problems, said Lester Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute. "It's easy to see how the food supply can translate directly into political unrest," he said.
Richard Ferguson, global head of agriculture at Renaissance Capital, an investment bank specialising in emerging markets, said the problems were likely to spread. "Food prices are absolutely core to a lot of these disturbances. If you are 25 years old, with no access to education, no income and live in a politically repressed environment, you are going to be pretty angry when the price of food goes up the way it is."
He said sharply rising food prices acted "as a catalyst" to foment political unrest, when added to other concerns such as a lack of democracy.
For the complete article, please see The Guardian.