Banks such Goldman Sachs and HSBC are making huge profits by gambling on the prices of key commodity crops such as coffee, cocoa and wheat, according to the campaign group the World Development Movement (WDM). This is not new but profits are getting bigger and at last there is more public awareness. WDM have just launched a new campaign.
Goldman Sachs alone made more than $1 billion from commodities trading in 2009. See The Ecologist article here and here the response to Goldman Sachs response. Johann Hari wrote a good piece in The Independent saying why we should get behind the WDM campaign. The speculators disrupt the market and drive up food prices - something which is catastrophic for the world’s poor and caused the 2007-2008 food crisis.
Meanwhile on top of this there are many other pressures leading to forecast food price rises. Population rises means 50m new mouths to feed - that's a new Britain every year. Then the massive expansion in biofuels has led to less land available for foods - in 2000, the global land use for ethanol production was around 10m hectares, but it is projected to rise to 120m hectares by 2015. Plus we have climate change reeking havoc in some area leading to crop failures - plus rising oil prices mean price rises in fertilisers, pesticides etc. Plus increasing affluence amongst a few - but still significant numbers - in India and China means more meat eating.
I've covered food prices before - see for example here and here. See also why The Guardian says agriculture is the next big investment thing here. Anyway lastly see more re the WDM campaign here - please join me in writing to your MP.
Pay more for food campaign
Meanwhile see here a campaign that started in Sweden to raise the price of food. This is about paying farmers the real price of food and ensuring we do the least damage to eco-systems and the environment when we buy food.