Global Food Crisis


The social structures changes with time depending on various factors. The way a society behaves, its values, believe and way of life would be reflected in the social change. There are various theories that try to explain the social changes. One of such theories is conflict theories and dialectic theory. Conflict theory explains the change in social structures that are associated in reaction to conflicts such as war, floods, and drought. Global food crisis brought scarcity in food commodities in the globe. There were visible reactions of this food crisis with many people from various countries going out on the streets to protest against the high food prices.

Cause and effects of global food crisis

Production of various food staffs have been in decline. The harvest of wheat in America and Europe for 2008 was poor. On the other hand there was a prolonged drought in Australia. Other major grain producer also recorded poor harvest (Faiola, 2008). This brought large decline of wheat production. The production of other grains such soybeans, corn, rise and other grains were also poor. This led to scarcity of food commodity in the world. With this scarcity of food staffs, their prices consequently rose.

Scarcity of food staffs increased the demand. Fearing that the little grains in the market would get finished, the able countries rushed to the market to buy the commodities (Faiola, 2008). On the other hand the grain producers such Argentina and Ukraine, with aim to control prices in their domestic market, barred export of grains. This worsened the even bad state of food security. In addition the prices of corn had risen due to government’s subsidized ethanol program. The prices of soybeans also rose due to high demand in china. All these condition combined resulted in unprecedented high food prices in the world. This condition was made even worse by the high prices of oil and it resulted to a global crisis (Oxford analytical, 2008).

Global Food Crisis

The effects of the food scarcity and high food prices were felt through out the globes in different magnitude. Unable to afford this expensive commodity, many families in the various regions of the world went with a single meal a day. In developing countries, where the effects were highly felt, cases of malnutrition and even deaths were reported. In developed countries families were spending a lot of their earnings on buying food staffs (Oxford analytical, 2008). Food being a necessity the families could not avoid the high prices but alter their other patters of life. However the prices of food continued to rise constantly to a crisis level.

In the past scarcity of food was associated with other crisis such war but this global food crisis was unique and its effects widely felt. In protest against the high prices and scarcity of food people from across the world went on the streets (Oxford analytical, 2008). The food crisis protests were recorded in all continents. More than 14 countries were faced with food related protests and violence. The protest and violence were constant and fierce that they brought about tension and even instability of various governments (Faiola, 2008). For example the Haiti prime minister was forced to resign after mob protest and violence increased in the capital Port-au-Prince (Faiola, 2008). In Malaysia the prime minister was left fighting for political survival after people furiously protested the increase in food prices. Such violence and public protest against food had not been preceded again and has raised questions on the value foods and food insecurity.

Social change resulting from the food crisis

Pressure exerted on the society by such a crisis may result to social changes (McLeish, 2003). The global food crisis has brought changes on how people behave and respond to food. The scarcities of food changed how people take meals. Initially many families used to have three meals in a day but with the scarcity and high prices of food people were forced to change their trend and go for one meal per day. Initially people mere more concerned on quality and quantity of food but with the strike of the global food crisis many families had to stick to only enough quantity for subsistence. The various food used for pleasure could not be afforded and families had to change their behaviors (McLeish, 2003). The proportion of income spent on food was initially low in many families and sometime insignificant but the food crisis brought changed to this trend. The families could feel significant weight on their spending on food.

Global Food Crisis

Food crisis had not been reported as a possible cause of instability in governments. The severe food crisis, however, reversed this as many governments were faced with violent protest against high food prices and scarcity (Faiola, 2008). The food security of major countries was questioned as the governments were not able to control the food prices in their governments. Certain government policies such as bio fuel was questioned and highly criticized. Other policies such policy on global warming, global economy, global population were highly discussed and various reforms advocated.


Global food crisis was unprecedented and it raised questions on the food security and survival of global population. The food crisis has brought major social changes with regard to food. The high prices of food and scarcity of food made people to value foods and change their perception of food.


Faiola (2008) The new economy of hunger:- The Washington post;- Retrieved from http://www.;On 6th October

2009                                                                                                                                                                                                      ;

McLeish (2003)The theory of social change: four views considered:-Routledge pp 52-76;

Oxford analytical (2008) Food shortage Rises with prices:-Retrieved from m/2008/04/14/food-prices-china-biz-cx_0415oxford.html  on 6th October 2009


Global Food Crisis