Saturday, January 19, 2008

Can they? Will they?

"After years of falling prices, food suddenly has everyone's attention. Record prices for wheat have led to riots in Morocco, India and Mexico. Governments are halting grain exports to protect domestic food supplies and aid organisations are issuing new appeals for the world's poor.

Developing nations are expecting to be hardest hit by food price inflation, especially net food importers. That includes most of the African continent, and those with high numbers relying on food aid can expect more people to be 'pushed over the edge', says Peter Smerdon, public affairs officer for the World Food Programme in Nairobi.

But the same countries are also the places with most potential to benefit. Two thirds of Africa's population already works in agriculture. As investors from the rest of the world buy into agricultural commodities for the first time, African governments should also be seeing new value in the sector."

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