If you don’t think there is a global food crisis you are wrong. One of every five people on this planet are either starving or malnourished. If my experience in Cambodia was any indication of what this means, let me reiterate what I saw there: massive inflation, massive poverty, urban and rural and a severely distressed countryside.
Cambodia was the most expensive country in South East Asia–but also the poorest. Why?
Mostly because the influx of foreign aid has caused a massive rise in both corruption and inflation. (Oh, and Angelina Jolie is supposedly building a huge house there.) Add to that much of the countryside being very distressed, still littered with UXOs and lying fallow you have a recipe for disaster. Now toss in a rise in food prices due to inflation and a concomitant price decrease, due to the commodities market collapse, in what the farmers can get for their rice and you have a massive mess:
Still, a country like Cambodia helps illustrate that lower prices have not ended the crisis. The price of rice Â– the country’s staple food Â– has gone down by about 7 percent since August. But observers say that’s not enough to offset the staggering 25 percent inflation of the last year.
“Workers already spend about 70 percent of their income on food. Prices have gone down, but they’re still higher than other years. If you look at people’s income versus inflation, many more are poor today,” says Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development of Agriculture, a think tank in the country’s capital, Phnom Penh.
Again, almost one in every five people on this planet are either starving or malnourished. Think about that. Sure, you’ll never see it in America, we hide our poverty too well. But it is real, very, very real.