Kasarinlan: Philippine Journal of Third World Studies, Vol 26, No 1-2 (2011)

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The 2008 Food and Financial Crises and the South: Causes and Impacts

Soha Farouk, Laura Cliche

Abstract


The year 2008 is best remembered for the global financial crisis that is held responsible for the ongoing economic hardships that confront many states. One of its most significant implications is food security which is the topic of this paper. The authors closely examine the causes and impacts of the food crisis in developing countries. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, nominal and real prices of major food products continue to surge which contributed to increasing food imports of developing countries. The poorest countries were the ones most affected by these price surges given their declining incomes and exchange rates. The article posits a number of causes for the food crisis ranging from underlying factors such as climate change, market speculation, US dollar depreciation, among others, to long term structural factors including unfair trade rules, oligopolistic market structures, and decreased food and development aid. Given these factors, the authors show that the implications of the food crisis were not confined to the economic sphere as shown by political and social impacts that surround the crisis which include inflation, exacerbation of poverty, malnutrition, deplorable conditions for women and children, and political riots. The authors conclude that the crisis shall continue to threaten the livelihoods of developing countries given the unfair competition brought about by capital intensive agriculture, lack of government support, and global economic integration of the agricultural sector. The authors then challenge the food security paradigm premised on liberal trade and proposes food sovereignty as an alternative paradigm in which autonomous food systems are put in place backed by national and international policies and civil societies that promote food as a fundamental human right in the fight against world hunger and malnutrition.

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