Interactive map reveals “pressure points” of food price spikes on poor communities around the world

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 03 Aug 2011

A new Oxfam interactive map published today shows how poor communities around the world are being hurt by high and volatile food prices.

Food prices have hovered near an all-time peak since late 2010 sending tens of millions of people into poverty.

In the drought-stricken region of East Africa, where parts of Somalia have been officially declared in famine, food shortages have led to price rises of as much as 240 per cent.

Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett said high and volatile food prices are one of the biggest political issues of 2011.

“Extreme weather events can wipe out harvests in a stroke, as we learned in Australia when food prices increased after the Queensland floods.

“Around the world, high food prices have crunched incomes for poor people and helped to spark instability and violence.

“From Bangladesh to Somalia to East Timor, the pressures of food price volatility on poor communities are staring us straight in the face, yet world leaders have not done enough to help.

“After decades of steady progress in the fight against hunger, the number of people without enough to eat is rising and could soon top one billion.”

The food price pressure points map is part of Oxfam’s global GROW campaign to fix the broken food system.

The interactive and educational tool can be embedded directly into any website to give audiences an easy way to understand the causes and impacts of the global food price crisis.

The food price pressure points map shows countries that are highly vulnerable to price spikes, have seen price spikes contribute to violence or unrest, or have suffered extreme weather events that have contributed to price hikes.

Some examples of the impacts revealed in the map include:

Pakistan: Nearly two-thirds of the population spend between 50 and 70 per cent of their income on food, making them vulnerable to rising prices.

Somalia: The chronic drought is devastating vulnerable communities, with the cost of maize doubling or tripling in many areas.

East Timor: Local food production does not meet domestic requirements, and many families in rural areas face food shortages every year.

The food price pressure points map can be found here

For interviews or more information contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Chee Chee Leung on 0400 732 795 or