Who's Profiting from the Food Crisis?


As the remnants of what was Hurricane Isaac crawls across the United States, it's expected to bring a little relief to the American Midwest. The area is suffering its worst drought in half a century-- so any rain is welcome. Crop lands are parched in Eastern Europe as well. With all this drought, world food prices jumped an average of 10 per cent last month. But the UN says the rise in prices is also because of market speculation. And now some banks say they'll no longer trade in food.

Today's guest host was Piya Chattopadhyay.

Part One of The Current


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Who's Profiting from the Food Crisis? - UN, Food & Agriculture

Mukrhan Mohammed has to be choosey when shopping at the El Harrach market just outside Algiers in Algeria. The country faced food riots this summer as prices for sugar and wheat climbed.

The world faces food shortages this year, mainly due to drought. And prices don't have to rise very much to leave many people hungry, according to Robert Fox, the director of Oxfam Canada. We aired a clip.

Last week Chris Mahoney, the director of agriculture trading for Glencore, one of the world's largest commodities trading companies said the current food climate would be "good" for Glencore's profits. This year, the company reported profits of more than two billion dollars. His remarks were certainly controversial.

The United Nations attributes part of the rise in food prices to market speculation. Some European banks have re-evaluated whether they should be trading in food at all because of these ethical concerns.

David Hallam is the director of trade and markets with the Food and Agriculture Organization with the United Nations and we reached him in London, hello!

Who's Profiting from the Food Crisis? - Leftfield Commodity Research

Our next guest says futures trading on commodities doesn't deserve the bad rap it's received. Chuck Penner is the founder of Leftfield Commodity Research. He joined us from his home in Winnipeg.

This segment was produced by The Current's Lara O'Brien and Josh Bloch.

Other segment from today's show:

The Invisible Girl: Documentary Repeat

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