Will the Food Crisis Finally Get the Attention of Presidential Candidates?

By Alexandra Spieldoch and R. Dennis Olson, Institute for Agriculture and Trade PolicyMay 6, 2008As we head into another round of presidential primaries, the specter of a growing world food crisis looms on the horizon. Fueled by rising apprehension over increasing price volatility in agricultural commodity markets, the debate continues to escalate over what are the underlying causes of rising food prices. Opinions vary to what degree certain factors play a role, but there is a growing consensus that there is a "Perfect Storm" of several developments occurring simultaneously, including: nearly depleted grain reserves; increasing energy costs; climate change; the biofuel boom; increasing consumption of industrial meat production in emerging economies; and a lack of transparency in agricultural markets that has contributed to increased speculation and manipulation in commodity markets. read more