According to recent reports by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), global food prices are likely to remain high throughout the rest of the decade and potentially beyond. While both organizations agree that prices will drop from their recent highs, overall, consumers worldwide can expect little relief from high costs.
The causes of higher food prices are many. One of the largest, and most controversial, is the continued emphasis on biofuels. Ethanol, in particular, has diverted a significant amount of the global food supply away from dinner tables. With supplies remaining stable, the increased fuel demands have driven prices up, threatening many developing nations, which often have difficulty feeding their populations. Both the FAO and the OECD have urged the G20 to end support for ethanol programs.
Another major cause of rising food prices is the increased use of maize crops (like corn) for animal feed. The continued economic advancement of formerly developing nations (such as China and India) has led to increased meat consumption by the growing middle class. With many farmers finding higher profits in selling grains as animal feed, it further decreases supply.
While both the FAO and the OECD have suggested ways to ease the impending food crisis, prices will likely remain volatile until food stocks have increased. With production remaining flat and supplies being diverted to non-food sources, consumers should brace themselves for continued shock when they enter the grocery store.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer