The era of inexpensive food is over. Food prices have hit record highs worldwide and the signs are that they will go on rising. It is time for us to reflect on some pertinent questions.

In the last few years, we have seen amazing advances in technology and productivity. There has been an all round economic progress. Despite this, the price rise is a glaring reality – why? Shouldn’t the improved productivity ensure that we get more for less money? How come it is the other way around? How have things come to this?

I feel the answer could be a combination of changing trends, bad luck and bad policy.

Trends – Rise in population and the change in lifestyle.
Bad luck – Unpredictable rainfall and climate changes, natural calamities like floods, drought, etc.
Bad policy – Conversion of crops into fuel, converting agricultural land into residential areas, growing bio fuel feedstock on land that is meant for food grains.

What can be done to overcome this situation?

This could be answered in many ways. But my simple answer is the need to provide more aid to people who are in distress or who are getting affected. Many food aid organizations are working to tackle the situation. But, no one is clear how much can be done. I feel that inexpensive food may be a thing of the past…

By Prashanthi

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