Food price volatility in international markets during 2010 alarmed many involved parties, including in Indonesia. A warning of a possible food crisis in 2011 has been advocated by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
Related international bodies and individual countries should properly address and create various solutions to such a potential crisis.
As reported by the FAO, the benchmark index of farm commodity prices shot up in December 2010, exceeding the levels of the 2007-2008 food crises.
International media also reported that in 2010, the prices of staples such as corn, wheat, soybean and sugar increased by more than 20 percent. In particular, the prices of wheat and corn increased by more than 60 percent.
Today’s food shortages around the world are primarily caused by crop failures. Natural disasters, climate change and pest attacks are the common factors of crop failures. Some main food producing countries experienced serious impacts of crop failures, such as failed wheat harvests due to droughts in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
Heavy floods also destroyed farming fields in China, the US and Australia.
Other factors contributing to world food shortages are increasing demand for food from new economic powers with huge populations such as India and China, and increasing demand for food to be converted into ethanol fuel.
Indications of food crisis have also been visible in Indonesia. A significant increase in the price of basic commodities has been widely reported by national media from day to day.
The fact that Indonesia imported 1.33 million tons of rice in 2010 marks the serious condition of national food supply. Import policies must be introduced to maintain stockpiles and help ease consumer prices.
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