The global food system works only for the few – for most of us it is broken. It leaves billions of us lacking sufficient power and knowledge about what we buy and eat and the majority of small food producers disempowered and unable to fulfil their productive potential. The failure of the system flows from failures of government – failures to regulate, to correct, to protect, to resist, to invest – which mean that companies, interest groups, and elites are able to plunder resources and to redirect flows of finance, knowledge, and food.
This report describes a new age of growing crisis: food price spikes and oil price hikes, devastating weather events, financial meltdowns, and global contagion. Behind these, slow-burn crises smoulder: creeping and insidious climate change, growing inequality, chronic hunger and vulnerability, the erosion of our natural resources. Based on the experience and research of Oxfam staff and partners around the world, Growing a Better Future shows how the food system is both a driver of this fragility and highly vulnerable to it, and why in the twenty-first century it leaves 925 million people hungry.
The report presents new research forecasting price rises for staple grains in the range of 120–180 per cent within the next two decades, as resource pressures mount and climate change takes hold. For more on interpreting the food price scenarios outlined in Growing a Better Future, see the Note on Food Price Scenarios added in November 2011.