At the launch of its Grow campaign, Oxfam warned of worsening hunger as the global food economy stumbles close to breakdown, with the charity’s chief executive Barbara Stocking warning that the food system “is pretty well bust in the world."
According to Oxfam, and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), there are already around 1 billion people going hungry on a daily basis.
“We are sleepwalking towards an avoidable age of crisis - one in seven people go hungry every day despite the fact that the world is capable of feeding everyone,” continued Stocking.
The charity forecast food prices to rise by between 70 and 90 per cent by 2030.
However, if the effects of climate change are taken into account, Oxfam paints a even gloomier picture, whereby the average cost of key crops could increase by between 120 and 180 per cent by the year 2030.
Oxfam also highlighted that the world's poorest people often spend up to 80 per cent of their incomes on food. They added that more people will be pushed into hunger as food prices climb.
In its report, Oxfam said that the ‘broken’ food system causes “hunger, along with obesity, obscene waste, and appalling environmental degradation.”
It said that “power above all determines who eats and who does not”, adding that the present system was “constructed by and on behalf of a tiny minority - its primary purpose to deliver profit for them.”
The report highlighted subsidies for big agricultural producers and powerful investors “playing commodities markets like casinos”, and said that large unaccountable companies are destructive forces in the global food system.
Oxfam said that a radical reform of the food system is needed, and called on world leaders to improve regulation of food markets and invest in a global climate fund.
“The food system must be overhauled if we are to overcome the increasingly pressing challenges of climate change, spiralling food prices and the scarcity of land, water and energy,” said Stocking.
The report called for food reserves to be urgently increased, and said that Western governments need to stop biofuel policies that divert food away from people.
“The economic crisis means that we have moved decisively beyond the era of the G8, when a few rich country governments tried to craft global solutions by and for themselves ... The governments of poorer nations must also have a seat at the table, for they are on the front lines of climate change, where many of the battles -- over land, water, and food -- are being fought,” said the report.
“Now the major powers, the old and the new, must cooperate, not compete, to share resources, build resilience, and tackle climate change,” it said.