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Oxfam launches interactive tool on food price volatility

by Oxfam | August 4, 2011


In the past few years, stories in the media about rising or fluctuating food prices have consistently surfaced in the news. We are told that rising food prices are having an impact on people around the world, but the specifics are largely left open to speculation.

Oxfam has just released an interactive online tool that highlights “pressure points” of fluctuating food prices and helps shed light on what rising food prices mean for particular populations. I know I’ve found it helpful and if you’re interested in why certain countries bear the brunt of rising food prices more than others, this is the tool for you.

It’s often challenging to envision how various populations are affected by rising food prices and why this is so. As you scroll the map you will be taken through the “problem”, “cause”, and “impact” of rising food prices on particular countries.

For instance, the example of Bangladesh illustrates how climate change and low economic development make it vulnerable to fluctuating food prices. The high prevalence of natural disasters, which are set to increase with climate change – combined with a dense population and production constraints – make Bangladesh heavily dependent on food imports. Rising food prices in a relatively poor country like Bangladesh, creates food insecurity for millions.   

The “stats” section is also eye-opening, allowing trends to be compared across countries and providing a broader understanding of the issue. I hope you find the map as helpful as I have, and I would love to hear your impressions of this new tool.

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