Prices that bounce

Participation, Power and Social Change Research at IDS

Naomi Hossain

I’m just back from South Kalimantan, part of Indonesian Borneo, where the idea that future food prices are likely to be jump even higher because of extreme weather events feels very real. Climate, energy, food and global economic crisis all feature in an alarming combination of volatilities. In the Banjarese community where IDS partners SMERU have been researching the social impacts of crisis since 2009, most people are rubber tappers. The past year has been particularly up-and-down, mainly down, even by the elastic standards of rubber producers.

We went to see one family, where the newly-single mother and household head – call her Siti – panicked when she saw us. ‘I’ve already paid’, she said. ‘I’ve paid for this month’. She thought we were debt collectors and was already behind on her first (I suspect also last) installment for her new motorbike, easily the most popular means…

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