Global food prices are up 83 per cent compared with three years ago. The resulting food price crisis constitutes an unprecedented threat to the livelihoods and well-being of millions of rural and urban households who are net food buyers. Around the world, Oxfam International and many of its partners have seen soaring prices force people to eat less food or less nutritious food and drive poor households to cut back on health care, education, and other necessities. Women and children’s nutritional levels are particularly vulnerable, as women often put men’s consumption before their own.
Oxfam estimates that current food price levels constitute an immediate threat to the livelihoods of around 290 million people living in countries most vulnerable to food price increases. Such vast numbers dwarf those affected by even the largest natural disasters, such as the 2004 Asian tsunami.