"UN Warned of Major New Food Crisis at Emergency Meeting in Rome"

"The world could be on the brink of a major new food  crisis caused by environmental disasters and rampant market speculators, the UN will be warned today at an emergency meeting on food price inflation.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) meeting in Rome today was called last month after a heatwave and wildfires in Russia led to a draconian wheat export ban and food riots broke out in Mozambique, killing 13 people. But UN experts will also hear that pension and hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds and large banks who speculate on commodity markets may also be responsible for inflation in food prices being seen across all continents.

In a new paper released this week, Olivier De Schutter, the UN's special rapporteur on food, says that the increases in price and the volatility of food commodities can only be explained by the emergence of a "speculative bubble" which he traces back to the early noughties."

John Vidal reports for the Guardian September 24, 2010.

Friday, September 24, 2010