Investments in the agricultural industry and technology are essential to avert the impending food crisis.
Deadly riots over the surge in food prices have been seen in Mozambique over the past few weeks, and anger is on the rise in other parts of the developing world, as many agriculture producers have been hit by droughts. These droughts have led to price surges and Russia’s ban on wheat exports.
On the surface, the causes of the food crisis seems to include factors such as high energy
prices, changes in climate, natural disasters and fluctuations in supply and demand in global markets. However, it is apparent that neglect of agricultural investment and overconsumption seems to be catching up with the European Union and the U.S.
It is estimated that in 2050 the world population will reach nine billion. According to a report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, feeding this immense population would require a 70 percent increase in global food production.
It’s time for the prosperous to take the responsibility of protecting and creating sustainable global conditions for humanity. According to the U.N. World Food Programme, one billion people suffer from chronic hunger.
The U.S. should continue to increase investments in agricultural sectors and offer assistance, not only but to other poor countries so they don’t become dependent on food aid.
Increasing productivity and diversification on farms may not only increase output, which would lower prices, but also keep the foreign exchange market and economies stable. Countries wouldn’t have to worry about using their foreign reserves to appreciate their currencies to buy expensive food.
When developed countries begin to focus resources on agriculture in economic policies, revise food aid programs to the developing world – which seems to do more harm than good when they compete with native growers – and reduce consumptions, the global food crisis won’t seem as intimidating.
Additionally, the U.S. and EU must put an end to their subsidies and protectionist tendencies in their own agricultural industries, and consider channeling those resources into developing countries’ agricultural markets as investments.
While Americans can adjust to the fluctuation in prices, those in the developing world who spend a higher proportion of their household incomes on food have no other options than to go hungry.
Developed economies should realize that it’s time to focus on more tangible investments like agricultural assistance. With the demand expected to rise so high, there may not be another option.
Sumeyra Aydemir is a senior majoring in poltical science and international studies.