Food prices crisis to deepen
17 January, 2011
2011 will see a potentially catastrophic spiralling of food prices, the head of giant producer Unilever has warned. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, ceo Paul Polman suggested the world is moving into “dangerous territory” when it comes to use of resources and food prices.
He said investor speculation in food stocks was adding to the problem. “One of the main things in food inflation is that it has attracted speculators for short-term profit at the expense of people living a dignified life. It is difficult to understand if you want to work for the long-term interests of society.”
Polman wants speculators to disclose their position in order to reduce the effects of their dealings. His other ideas to tackle the problems include an increase in investment in sustainable farming models and an end to subsidies that discriminate against developing nations.
Polman will expand on his thoughts at the forthcoming World Economic Forum in Davos, where food prices are likely to be high on the agenda. His is the latest voice of warning in the food production industry, after another year of turbulence in prices in 2010. The fluctuations in food prices is already causing headaches for restaurant and pub operators, with the extra costs being passed down the supply chain to them and consumers.
For the full interview with Polman, see Davos 2011: Unilever’s Paul Polman believes we need to think long term.
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