Conflict, drought, population growth, rising oil prices and shipping costs, and a booming biofuel industry have greatly raised commodity prices across the globe. This poses a particular problem for food aid programs. Global food prices rose nearly 40% in 2007 and show few signs of receding. The Financial Times reported that the UN’s World Food Program has a funding gap of about $600-$700 million, and is requesting governments to donate at least $500 million by May 1st to avoid rationing food. Domestically, the largest US food aid program, Food for Peace, is in need of $600 million—approximately a 70% increase—to avoid gaps in food donations. Congress is currently mulling over legislation that will increase supplemental spending for aid funds.
As always, we encourage our members and visitors to share their thoughts on this impending crisis.