These recent events are not written on tabula rasa. Decades of International Monetary Fund-imposed structural adjustment, which forced developing countries to drastically cut agricultural subsidies and to promote production of export crops rather than food for the domestic population, created a situation in which developing countries were particularly vulnerable to the vagaries of international trade. The current crisis (prior IntLawGrrls posts here) is also at least partly attributable to the collapse of the Doha round and the failure of the United States, European Union, and Japan to eliminate domestic subsidies for agricultural production.
Where is the outrage?
Biofuel production poses a particular threat to the food security of women. A recent FAO analysis reports:
Unless policies are adopted in developing countries to strengthen the participation of small farmers, especially women in biofuel production by increasing their access to land, capital and technology—gender inequalities are likely to become more marked and women’s vulnerability to hunger and poverty further exacerbated.
Food riots, prompted by shortages, are perhaps the most visible sign of a food system in disarray. The FAO warns that more than 30 countries face food crises. (See post below for yet another set of concerns.)