Food shortage: A 13-year-old Zimbabwean boy packs crops from last year’s harvest for storage (Feb. 7, 2015). Many rural areas of Zimbabwe have been hit by severe drought, with more than a quarter of the population facing food shortages.Source: Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images
Widespread unrest is likely to occur as food prices spike 395 percent in regions of the world by 2024, according to a proposed scenario from a Federal Emergency Management Agency contractor.
The prediction is based on a 2015 study published by the Center for Naval Analyses, which went unreported until mid-2016. It simulated a global food crisis within the next decade triggered by “food price and supply swings amidst burgeoning population growth, rapid urbanization, severe weather events, and social unrest.”
The research took into account the current trends of food shortages, severe weather patterns—such as droughts—oil price spikes, and prolonged crop failures in bread basket regions such as Zimbabwe.
Historically, such circumstances lead to political and economic instability, as a lack of resources causes mass migrations of populations and social unrest. In Venezuela, for example, where food prices may rise up to 720 percent this year according to the International Monetary Fund, crimes such as store looting and murder have skyrocketed.
Individual families would be impacted as well. The World Food Program stated on its website: “In some of the countries where WFP works, there are households that spend as much as 60-80 percent of their income on food. In these situations, higher prices clearly hit hard. Families cut the number of meals they have a day, they buy cheaper, less nutritious food and spend less on things like schooling and medicine.”