Food Prices Expected to Continue Their Climb

According to a report by Cargill Inc., a major multinational commodities trader, due to the continued rise of the global population, the era of falling food prices is rapidly ending.

Over the past several months, international groups like the United Nations have released a series of reports documenting the dangers faced by an increasing population combined with stagnant agricultural growth. According to the UN, the global population is expected to increase to 9 billion within the next fifty years.

Given the rapid population growth, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that global food production will need to increase by 70 percent in order to meet the needs of the burgeoning populace.

Current agricultural trends, however, reveal stagnating global production. While the 1960s and 70s saw the Green Revolution, a massive increase in agricultural technology and production, current food production has plateaued. This, combined with increasingly volatile global weather patterns, has led to global food insecurity, which has led to increased political insecurity. In 2008, for example, food shortages led to riots in Haiti. In 2010, drought and wildfire in Russia depleted wheat supplies, which led to food shortages, and eventually a revolution, in Egypt.

These shortages are not isolated to the Third World. Over the past ten years, the FAO’s food-price index, the measure of monthly change in international prices in the basket of food commodities, has increased by 20 points, rising from 200 in 2000 to 228 in 2011 and affecting consumers worldwide.

Farmers can alter this pattern. According to the head of Cargill, “The world’s farmers, some of the smartest businessmen that there are, can produce enough food to feed the next two billion people. However, they need help.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer