When the protest in Tunisia kicked off in early 2010, we at Green Prophet highlighted the link between the unrest and rising food prices that meant that many citizens were angry because they could not afford to feed their families.
This led to a wide level of support for the protests, which ultimately led to the fall of the President Ben Ali and later President Mubarak. Now, however, commentators are drawing a link between protests in the Middle East and further rising global food prices.
You probably won’t be surprise to learn that rising oil prices is at the heart of the reason why the protest are driving up food prices. As Tafline Laylin wrote earlier today, the price of oil has risen 6% to $95.39 per barrel following the turbulence in the MENA region. This is apparently a six-year high.
As the agricultural industry is heavily reliant on fossil fuels (through machines, transportation and fertilizer production), this means that the rising prices of oil has led to the rising price of food.
With the recent revolt in Libya- a country which happens to be the world’s 12th biggest oil exporter- some commentators states that an impact on oil and consequently food prices is inevitable.
Egypt nudged prices upwards and so further protests will no doubt continue to push up the price of oil and food as they are so inextricably connected.
With the recent wikileak revelation that Saudi exaggerated its oil production by up to 40% this trend is set to continue in the future. It also reinforces the need to diversify our energy mix and seek more sustainable energy that is not so susceptible to market shocks and political turmoil.
::Image via cjb22 on flickr.
For more on political unrest and food prices see: