A new norm of volatility? | World Development Movement

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A new norm of volatility?

By Dan Iles, 14 December 2012

Dan Iles takes a look at the latest World Bank food price figures.

The recent World Bank’s quarterly Food Price Watch, released this November, yet again paints a concerning picture in terms of continued high food prices across the world. Worryingly, the World Bank recognises a new norm of high and volatile food prices but still refuses to mention any reference to food speculation and the actions of financial institutions. 

Key points:

  • International food prices remain close to all-time highs. Food prices in October are still 7% higher than a year ago, and the prices of grains remain particularly high. Prices of grains are 12% above their levels 12 months ago and very close to the all-time high observed in 2008
  • The national price of wheat increased by 27% in Tajikstan between July and September
  • Countries reliant of US exports of maize are still very vulnerable to price fluctuations. The price of maize in Haiti and Honduras went up by 28% and 19% respectively between July and September 
  • The World Bank has recognised that price stabilisation policies in some developing countries have led to annual declines in the price of wheat. Price regulations introduced in Bolivia have induced a 13% decline between September 2011 and September 2012
  • Markets in Southern Malawi have experienced 100% increases in the price of maize between 2011 and 2012
  • Maize prices have increased in Tanzania and Haiti by 31% in the last year and in Lesotho by 37% 
  • 870 million people worldwide continue to live under chronic undernourishment, unchanged since 2007. This figure is set to cause a failure for the Millennium Development Goal for 2015 to half world hunger.

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Written by

Dan Iles

Dan Iles has been involved with WDM for two years. He started as an activism and events intern, then went off to the South West to work as a regional mobiliser. After this Dan stayed in Bristol and became the Bristol WDM group coordinator. He now works in the WDM London office as a campaign and policy assistant. He has a wealth of experience in setting up community organisations and grassroots campaigning and is particularly inspired by food sovereignty. He has got experience with the local food movement in Bristol, doing work for Bristol People’s Supermarket, community gardens and community kitchens and was part of the UK delegation at the European Food Sovereignty Forum. 

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