By Daniel Hunter

The World Development Movement’s director Deborah Doane has responded to predictions that poor harvests in the UK will lead to rising food prices, warning that financial speculation could send prices soaring even higher.

“Food prices are rising steeply due to poor harvests, and if the 2008 food price crisis is anything to go by, we may see financial speculation driving prices up even further in the coming months," Doane said.

“In the absence of effective regulation of the finance sector, banks and hedge funds are effectively gambling on food prices.

“Here in the UK, the poorest people are already cutting down on fresh fruit and vegetables because they can’t afford them. In developing countries, where people spend up to 90 per cent of their incomes on food, price spikes force millions of people to go hungry.

“Banks like Barclays, which made an estimated £500 million on food prices in 2010 and 2011, are taking advantage of changing prices for their own gain. Unless we stop this by regulating the finance markets, speculation will turn the current price rises into an even greater crisis for people both in the UK and worldwide.”

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