Interactive map reveals “pressure points” of food price spikes on poor communities around the world

Published: 3rd August 2011

A new interactive map published by Oxfam today shows how poor communities across the world are being hurt by high and volatile food prices. The ‘food price pressure points map’ provides a global snapshot of the impacts of the global food price crisis.

High and volatile food prices are one of the biggest political issues of 2011. The pressure points map can be embedded directly into any website to give audiences an easy way to raise their voice and take action on the food price crisis. The tool is part of Oxfam’s global GROW campaign to fix the broken food system.

“High food prices have crunched incomes for poor people and helped to spark instability and violence around the world,” said Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam. “From Yemen, to Bolivia, the pressures of food price volatility on poor communities are staring us straight in the face, yet world leaders have not done enough to help.”

Food prices have hovered near an all time peak since late 2010 sending tens of millions of people into poverty. After decades of steady progress in the fight against hunger, the number of people without enough to eat is again rising and could soon again top one billion. Leaders from the G-20 nations have delivered little more than band-aid solutions giving little hope to struggling communities.

The map displays countries that are highly vulnerable to price spikes, have seen price spikes contribute to violence or unrest, or have suffered extreme weather events that have contributed to price hikes. Some examples of the impacts the map reveals include:

  • Pakistan: Nearly two-thirds of the population spends between 50 and 70 percent of their income on food, making them vulnerable to rising prices.
  • Tanzania: Despite a strong economic performance, more than half the population lives in extreme poverty and is vulnerable to increasing food prices.
  • Mozambique: In 2010, after record harvests, Mozambique was still slated to import almost a quarter of its food. Food prices are volatile because of both domestic production and import dependence.
  • Russia: In most of Russia’s regions, the price of the average food basket went up by 20-30 percent between July 2010 and March 2011. Russian food prices remained high even after the Russian government introduced a grain export ban that led to a surge in prices on the international markets.
  • Guatemala: Nearly half of children under 5 in Guatemala are chronically undernourished, and the proportion of the population suffering from malnutrition has been rising. In rural areas, up to 70 percent of children are malnourished.

“People around the globe are clamoring for bold action from world leaders and getting little more than speeches in return,” said Hobbs. “Words sound nice but they don’t feed hungry families. It’s time for G-20 leaders to step back from their podiums and get to work.”

Read more

> Explore: Food price pressure points map

> Act: Call on the G20 to stop the global food crisis

> Join: Oxfam's GROW campaign

High food prices have crunched incomes for poor people and helped to spark instability and violence around the world.
Jeremy Hobbs
Executive Director of Oxfam

Notes to editors

The map is currently available in English, Spanish and French.

Use this code to embed the map on your website:

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Contact information

For more information, please contact:

Ben Grossman-Cohen
P: 202-777-2907
M: 202-629-6018