Pressure Points Map: what we can do to help

August 16, 2011

Oxfam has launched a new tool: a map of locations around the world that represent pressure points in our food system, places that are impacted by the world's food prices and weather.

As we continue to report, food prices this year reached an all time high - leading to extreme couponing, smaller portion sizes, and a rethink of the shopping cart. The price and supply of foods are very seriously contributing to major global political turmoil and sending tens of millions of people into poverty.

Understanding just how high prices have impacted communities around the world has been difficult. Oxfam has released an interactive map showing how food prices are affecting the most vulnerable communities around the globe. The map is part of Oxfam’s new global GROW campaign to beat back hunger.
According to Raymond C. Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America, “Food price volatility has pushed tens of millions of people into poverty and contributed to violence and instability that is dangerous for global security and costly to American taxpayers.”

The map displays countries that are highly vulnerable to price spikes, have seen price spikes contribute to violence or unrest, or have suffered extreme weather events that have contributed to price hikes.  
Here are a few examples of what the map reveals:
Yemen: One-third of the population (7.2 million people) suffers from acute hunger. In the capital city, imported wheat flour prices were 117 percent higher in May of 2011 than the previous year contributing to unrest in the country.
Tanzania: Despite a strong economic performance, more than half the population lives in extreme poverty and is vulnerable to increasing food prices.
Mozambique: In 2010, after record harvests, Mozambique was still slated to import almost a quarter of its food. Food prices are volatile because of both domestic production and import dependence.
Russia: The price of the average food basket went up by 20-30 percent between July 2010 and March 2011! Russian food prices remained high even after the Russian government introduced a grain export ban that led to a surge in prices on the international markets.
Guatemala: Nearly half of children under five years old in Guatemala are chronically undernourished, and the proportion of the population suffering from malnutrition has been rising. In rural areas, up to 70 percent of children are malnourished.
View the map at