The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Anuradha Mittal, (510) 469-5228;

The Food Crisis and Latin America

A New Policy Brief From the Oakland Institute Examines the Impact of the 2008 Food Crisis on Latin America


Rapidly increasing prices for staple foods
from 2006 to 2008 culminated into a worldwide food crisis: inflation
soared, food shortages were prevalent, and a lack of purchasing power
among millions of the world's poor led to widespread hunger and
desperation. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates
that higher prices pushed another 40 million people into hunger in
2008, bringing the overall number of undernourished people in the
world to 963 million (compared to 923 million in 2007). The Food
Crisis and Latin America
, a new policy brief from the
Oakland Institute examines the impact of the 2008 food price crisis on
Latin America and the Caribbean.

Skyrocketing prices increased the number of hungry and
malnourished Latin Americans; boycotts and protests became rampant
which caused widespread social unrest; and governments were tried to
control food prices through emergency policy measures. While several
factors are cited as causes of the dramatic rise in food prices,
the new policy brief, The Food Crisis and Latin America,
explains the lack of access to and affordability of food in Latin
America a result of trade and agricultural policies implemented over
the past three decades. Beginning in the 1980s, Latin America as a
region enacted the most sweeping reforms to its trade policies in the
world, producing dramatic increases in agricultural trade. The policy
brief examines if these gains have done anything to shield the region
from inflation in world commodity prices and if they have made Latin
America more food secure.
The policy brief also finds that even though world commodity
prices have somewhat stabilized and recent reports indicate a downward
turn in commodity prices, store shelves across the region are still
void of affordable food and the crisis warrants immediate
measures to address the failures in the global food system.

Read other reports and policy briefs on the global food crisis

The Oakland Institute is a policy think tank whose mission is to increase public participation and promote fair debate on critical social, economic and environmental issues in both national and international forums.