American Society of Agronomy. 12 September 2012. The latest price report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has reported that its food price index jumped by 6 percent in July. This was largely because of rising grain prices, with the drought in the U.S. and its expected impact on the corn harvest being the biggest factor. The cereals component of the index jumped 17%.
The report is a reversal of the recent trend in food prices, which had declined for three straight months and it is a reminder that the global food crisis that came to a head in 2008 and again in 2011, with riots in dozens of countries, is by no means over. And they could rise further as the impact of higher feed-grain prices works its way through meat and dairy markets. Cereal prices stand only slightly below their all-time peak levels in April 2008. The high temperatures and droughts of recent years, which many scientists say have become more likely because of human-induced climate change, are turning into a serious stress on the food system. Rising demand in developing countries is also a major factor. Many experts are worried that future demand cannot be met at prices the world’s poor people can afford. Reacting to the report, groups campaigning against hunger demanded that governments in the advanced countries redouble their focus on poor farmers in developing countries. Steps have been taken in that direction since the crisis peaked in 2008, but they remain inadequate, in the view of some of those groups.