The summer of 2007 is notoriously remembered for the turmoil in the subprime mortgage market in the United States that led to the collapse the following year of Lehman Brothers, one of the oldest houses in Wall Street, and ushered in the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. The financial crisis engulfed about a dozen advanced economies (AEs) and pulled down dozens of emerging markets and developing countries (EMDEs) as the global economy slipped into recession. While the press coverage focused on the unfolding financial meltdown of the wealthy economies, a very different type of crisis brewed in parallel, that would have a disproportionally greater impact on EMDEs than in AEs. This was the global food crisis of 2008, the less famous sibling of the financial crisis.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic and the resulting plethora of supply disruptions in early 2020, “global real or relative food prices” (i.e., food prices divided by the consumer price index, or CPI) have been climbing higher once again (Figure 1). This builds on a perilous base. Already in 2020, more than 800 million people were estimated to be suffering from hunger, one hundred million more than the previous year (UNICEF, 2021). The pandemic, a once in a century event, has now been followed by another rare calamity—the first war in Europe since 1945.
To read the post: Is another food crisis unfolding?