UN warns of rising food costs after year’s extreme weather
Warning comes as shops struggle to fill shelves and farmers’ union reports wheat yields are at lowest level since 1980s
John Vidal, Rebecca Smithers and Shiv Malik
Wednesday 10 October 2012
The UN has warned of increasing meat and dairy prices in the wake of extreme weather in the United States and across large parts of Europe and other centres of global food production.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome, global wheat production is expected to fall 5.2% in 2012 and yields from many other crops grown to feed animals could be 10% down on last year.
“Populations are growing but production is not keeping up with consumption. Prices for wheat have already risen 25% in 2012, maize 13% and dairy prices rose 7% just last month. Food reserves, [held to provide a buffer against rising prices] are at a critical low level
“It means that food supplies are tight across the board and there is very little room for unexpected events,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist with the FAO.
“The decrease in cereal production this year will result in a significant reduction in world reserves by the close of seasons in 2013, even with world demand sliding as a result of high prices,” he said.