Above is a chart dealing with food self-sufficiency. It is measuring, in calories, (exports-imports)/consumption. Green marks countries with high food self-sufficiency and the scale moves to red, which marks countries poorly able to feed themselves, much less export food (original Net Trade in Food chart).
Anybody following the current unrest in North Africa and the Middle East will immediately note that the area is bathed in red. Add in the percentage of a person's income spent on food and the picture looks even worse. For example, both Spain and Algeria are dark red, yet the Spanish spend only 14.6% of their incomes on food, while Algerians spend a whopping 44% on food.
That means that if World food prices go up they'll cut into the discretionary spending of the Spanish, while they'll cut to the bone in places like Algeria.
The Chinese are having a crop failure, but they have money to buy food imports. That, and the increasing transport costs due to rising oil prices, means that the price of food will go up. This does not bode well for stability of any post demonstration/revolution Middle Eastern and North African governments. I think it will almost certainly extend the instability of an already unstable region.
I suspect that whatever governments arise from the latest unrest -- be they better, worse, or more or less more of the same -- that it is likely those governments themselves will be swept away if people grow hungrier. This is going to be a multi-year bumpy ride - Europe, which is already turning to the right is going to face an onslaught of refugees, while the food exporting countries are going to be relentlessly hectored by the UN Food Justice folks.
To end this post, Peter Menzel has put together a series of photographs showing family's weekly expenditures in food around the world. Below, and after the jump, are a few of those photos (from Fresh Pics' What the World Eats Around the World which has more pictures as well as descriptions):
(Hellooooooo visitors from Instapundit)
(Hellooooooo visitors from Small dead animals)