College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

Global Food Shortages: A Lasting Problem?

April 22, 2008

Notice a rise in the cost of a loaf of bread at the supermarket? You’re not alone. Overall, retail food prices in the United States have increased 4.4 percent in the last year. Other parts of the world have been harder hit and extreme food shortages have lead to riots and civil unrest.

David Zilberman, professor of Agriculture and Resources Economics at CNR, has been studying food trends for thirty years. He thinks drought, biofuels, transportation costs as well as increased income and demand for food imports in Asia are responsible for the increase in food prices.

He said the best way to fight global food shortages is through innovation and creative use of technology.

“To me, the key element is adaptability,” he said. “That basically, we keep the environment going, and we fight to adapt in the most effective way. We need to have incentives against pollution, against waste, against greenhouse gases, against all this other stuff, but at the same time we need to allow people the freedom to be creative and to increase our resource space.”

To find out more, check out the full text of Zilberman’s interview with the Sacramento Bee and KTVU’s story on global food shortages featuring David Zilberman and Brian Wright.


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