The Future of Food

Leading experts tell us what they think is coming next.

By , International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.
Survey participants (58): Hakan Altinay, Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, Emmanuel Asmah, Christopher A. Bailey, Robert Bates, David Beckmann, Andrew Bent, Pascal Bergeret, Nancy Birdsall, Masum Burak, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, David Byrne, Jake Caldwell, Edward Cameron, Hank Cardello, Paul Collier, Richard Conant, Raj Desai, Dickson D. Despommier, Shenggen Fan, Ted Friend, Julian Gaspar, Wenonah Hauter, Kjell Havnevik, Peter Hazell, Eric Holt-Giménez, Charles Hurburgh, Sallie James, Monty Jones, Calestous Juma, Charles Kenny, Homi Kharas, Mwangi S. Kimenyi, Russell Libby, Will Martin, Peter Matlon, Jeffrey McNeely, David Michel, Todd Moss, Dambisa Moyo, Johanna Nesseth Tuttle, Raymond C. Offenheiser Jr., Robert Paarlberg, Gregory Page, Carlo Petrini, Norman Piccioni, James Roth, Sara J. Scherr, Glen Shinn, Iain Shuker, Fawzi Al-Sultan, Yurie Tanimichi Hoberg, Mark Tercek, Carl-Gustaf Thornström, Camilla Toulmin, Kristin Wedding, Patrick C. Westhoff, Steve Wiggins.
Survey participants (58): Hakan Altinay, Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, Emmanuel Asmah, Christopher A. Bailey, Robert Bates, David Beckmann, Andrew Bent, Pascal Bergeret, Nancy Birdsall, Masum Burak, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, David Byrne, Jake Caldwell, Edward Cameron, Hank Cardello, Paul Collier, Richard Conant, Raj Desai, Dickson D. Despommier, Shenggen Fan, Ted Friend, Julian Gaspar, Wenonah Hauter, Kjell Havnevik, Peter Hazell, Eric Holt-Giménez, Charles Hurburgh, Sallie James, Monty Jones, Calestous Juma, Charles Kenny, Homi Kharas, Mwangi S. Kimenyi, Russell Libby, Will Martin, Peter Matlon, Jeffrey McNeely, David Michel, Todd Moss, Dambisa Moyo, Johanna Nesseth Tuttle, Raymond C. Offenheiser Jr., Robert Paarlberg, Gregory Page, Carlo Petrini, Norman Piccioni, James Roth, Sara J. Scherr, Glen Shinn, Iain Shuker, Fawzi Al-Sultan, Yurie Tanimichi Hoberg, Mark Tercek, Carl-Gustaf Thornström, Camilla Toulmin, Kristin Wedding, Patrick C. Westhoff, Steve Wiggins.
Survey participants (58): Hakan Altinay, Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, Emmanuel Asmah, Christopher A. Bailey, Robert Bates, David Beckmann, Andrew Bent, Pascal Bergeret, Nancy Birdsall, Masum Burak, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, David Byrne, Jake Caldwell, Edward Cameron, Hank Cardello, Paul Collier, Richard Conant, Raj Desai, Dickson D. Despommier, Shenggen Fan, Ted Friend, Julian Gaspar, Wenonah Hauter, Kjell Havnevik, Peter Hazell, Eric Holt-Giménez, Charles Hurburgh, Sallie James, Monty Jones, Calestous Juma, Charles Kenny, Homi Kharas, Mwangi S. Kimenyi, Russell Libby, Will Martin, Peter Matlon, Jeffrey McNeely, David Michel, Todd Moss, Dambisa Moyo, Johanna Nesseth Tuttle, Raymond C. Offenheiser Jr., Robert Paarlberg, Gregory Page, Carlo Petrini, Norman Piccioni, James Roth, Sara J. Scherr, Glen Shinn, Iain Shuker, Fawzi Al-Sultan, Yurie Tanimichi Hoberg, Mark Tercek, Carl-Gustaf Thornström, Camilla Toulmin, Kristin Wedding, Patrick C. Westhoff, Steve Wiggins.

Three years ago, as markets were heading toward collapse, one set of prices made a startling and disruptive leap: food. With rice and wheat more than doubling, riots broke out from Haiti to Bangladesh, to Cameroon to Egypt. Then oil prices went down and the crisis waned. Today, however, it seems that was only a temporary reprieve. Inflation in the developing world is pushing up food prices again, floods and fires last year destroyed a significant chunk of the world's wheat harvest, and oil is shooting back up as well, bringing with it the cost of fertilizer and shipping. Worse, with the world's population set to hit 9 billion by 2050 on an increasingly arid globe, what we now call crisis may become the status quo. How did things get so bad? And is there any turning back? 

Three years ago, as markets were heading toward collapse, one set of prices made a startling and disruptive leap: food. With rice and wheat more than doubling, riots broke out from Haiti to Bangladesh, to Cameroon to Egypt. Then oil prices went down and the crisis waned. Today, however, it seems that was only a temporary reprieve. Inflation in the developing world is pushing up food prices again, floods and fires last year destroyed a significant chunk of the world’s wheat harvest, and oil is shooting back up as well, bringing with it the cost of fertilizer and shipping. Worse, with the world’s population set to hit 9 billion by 2050 on an increasingly arid globe, what we now call crisis may become the status quo. How did things get so bad? And is there any turning back? 

 

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

 

Scott Barbour/Getty Images

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

 

ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images

Elizabeth Dickinson is International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.

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