The May 2022 IPES report "Another Perfect Storm" has a number of solutions to tackling hunger and lack of access to good food. The first is that commodity speculation on food crops must be stopped. This has been attempted in the past through legislation, but has had limited impact on the transparency of markets, pointing to the need for further action. Speculation can lead to grain being held in reserves by large private companies (including the ABCD grain giants: Archer-Daniels Midland, Bunge, Cargill, and Dreyfus) until prices appear to peak, or by countries with opaque markets such as China. Such practices can lead to hoarding, and investments and speculation on the prices of food crops can be a damaging practice where this drives up real food prices, leaving families in low-income countries unable to purchase staple foods, and leading to hunger and malnutrition in these regions. More action must be taken by governments and within international policy to regulate the practice of commodity speculation and to ensure that markets remain transparent. The IPES food report suggests a number of actions to achieve this, including the use of taxes in commodity index funds; stopping financial institutions from selling agricultural commodity ETFs during periods when food prices are at a high; and taking measures to keep markets transparent, including requiring declarations to be made by traders on the sizes of their grain reserves.
Presented by: Professor Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies, UK
IPES International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems
Global Justice on Broken Markets