World leaders must take swift action to avert a possible food price shock in 2013, Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon says, warning unchecked price volatility in staple food items could trigger an escalation in poverty to crisis levels.
“I'm afraid that this new phenomenon of rising of prices of food around the world will provide a new round of crisis related with poverty,” Calderon told CNBC in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
“The problems in Africa, even the Arab spring, in my opinion are some way or another related to the price of food,” Calderon said, adding that next year could mark “a new round of very high prices.”
“All the countries should do something and quickly in order to avoid any social and political turmoil around the world,” he added.
Mexico suffered a popular backlash after corn prices surged in 2007, making tortillas — the staple food product in Mexico — more expensive, and sparking ‘tortilla riots’ in major cities across the central American country.
The worst drought in more than 50 years in the U.S. has sent soybean and corn prices to new all-time highs, stoking inflation fears and prompting leaders to call for action against financial market speculators blamed for driving prices higher.