© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Riot police block protesters and workers’ union members during a protest against the government of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo and rising food and fuel prices, in Lima, Peru, on April 7, 2022. Photo taken with a drone. REUTERS/Daniel Becerri
(Reuters) – The war in Ukraine and drought fueled by climate change have sent global prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizers skyrocketing.
Rising staple food prices are fueling protests from Indonesia to Iran.
European wheat prices have jumped 52% and benchmark palm oil futures have risen 25% since January.
The trend is rising and has policymakers worried, with UN agencies warning that the price hikes will worsen an existing food crisis in Africa and could cause “catastrophic” child malnutrition.
Here are the protests in alphabetical order that have erupted over food prices in recent months.
Thousands of farmers demonstrated in Buenos Aires on April 23 against President Alberto Fernandez, whose policies to contain food prices to curb runaway inflation have been criticized by the agricultural sector.
Thousands of students marched in the Chilean capital Santiago on March 25 to demand higher food allowances.
On May 18, Cypriot farmers threw tons of milk and lit bales of hay outside the presidential palace in the capital Nicosia, to protest against high prices and production problems.
Thousands of Greek workers demonstrated in Athens during May Day rallies against soaring energy and food prices. Annual consumer inflation in Greece accelerated to 8.9% in March, reaching its highest level in 27 years.
One person was killed in the Guinean capital on June 2 during protests against rising fuel prices, in the most serious unrest since a military junta took power last year. Gunshots rang out in Conakry overnight as people barricaded streets and set tires on fire to protest a 20% rise in petrol prices, a Reuters reporter and witnesses said.
Indonesian farmers demonstrated in Jakarta on May 17 against the rising cost of the palm oil export ban. Smallholder farmer group APKASINDO estimates that at least 25% of palm oil mills have stopped buying palm fruit from independent farmers since the start of the ban, driving the price of palm fruit to 70% below a floor price set by the regional authorities.
Price protests are turning political in Iran as rallies spread. The protests began in early May, sparked by the government’s decision to cut subsidies that caused price hikes in Iran of up to 300% for a variety of basic flour products. The government has also increased the prices of some basic products such as cooking oil and dairy products.
Pensioners demonstrated in Iran on June 6 in a new protest against the soaring cost of living, according to the Fars news agency and social media, in a fresh challenge to authorities struggling with weeks of unrest. About 1,000 pensioners gathered to protest peacefully and were escorted by police into the city, Fars wrote.
Activists staged a protest on May 17 in Nairobi, calling on the government to lower the cost of living, especially food prices.
Lebanese truck and bus drivers and others blocked roads in January to protest against soaring prices. Protesters accuse politicians of failing to deal with an ongoing economic crisis since 2019.
Palestinian police made a number of arrests on June 6 as protests over soaring prices for food and other basic necessities spread a day before a planned strike to demand action by the Palestinian authorities. Palestinian Authority running out of money. Official figures released by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics put the increase in food prices at between 15 and 18%.
Peru deployed the military to highways in April in response to roadblocks spurred by anger over rising food and fuel prices. Peru is facing its highest inflation rate in a quarter of a century.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency in May, following a day of anti-government strikes and protests against the worsening economic crisis. Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, unprecedented since its independence in 1948, arose from the confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising oil prices and populist tax cuts by the Rajapaksas.
In March, a protester was shot and killed in the Sudanese town of Madani, doctors said, as demonstrators crossed the country to protest against a military coup that was followed by a severe economic downturn. Sudan’s currency has lost more than a third of its value since the military coup in October last year, rapidly driving up the prices of fuel, food and other goods.
Tunisia announced on May 11 that it would raise the prices of certain foods, including milk, eggs and poultry, following protests by farmers over a spike in barley prices for animal feed.