Food speculation is pushing millions of people into poverty and starvation. Investors like Barclays Capital are leading a dangerous trend in betting on food commodities markets, originally set up to guarantee farmers a fair price.
In less industrialised countries it has contributed to driving the cost of wheat and maize up by 55 per cent - pushing 44 million people into extreme poverty in the first six months of 2010 alone.
Impoverished families are spending most of their money on food, leaving little, or nothing, for healthcare or schooling their children.
Commodities markets were originally set up to safeguard producers and buyers by ensuring long term stable prices on foods, such as wheat or maize. They were able to do this by purchasing a futures contract on them (basically hedge funding, but for food). However, financial giants like Barclays Capital and Goldman Sachs are buying these futures contracts and speculating, or rather gambling, on the changing prices over their lifetime.
The World Development Movement (WDM) believes it bears all the hallmarks of the hedge fund fiasco in 2008. Speculators then gambled on sub-prime mortgages leading to a massive financial crash and millions of Americans losing their homes.
This time around, millions in the developing world are set to lose their livelihoods. The Financial Stability Board, a global watchdog for financial dealings around the world, has warned it is a bubble waiting to burst.
TAKE ACTION to stop banks causing hunger
The World Development Movement has launched a campaign to stop speculators making excessive profits at the expense of millions in poor countries. Help them convince the UK government to back the European proposals for stricter regulation by emailing the Treasury.
You can also close your Barclays account, writing a letter to tell them why or send a petition to your local branch.
For more information visit The World Development Movement website.