Global Food Prices Threaten Food Security

Washington: According to the most recent World Bank Food Price Watch report, consumers should prepare for higher grocery bills because after four months of consecutive price declines, global food prices are on the rise again threatening the food security of millions of people.

Higher oil prices, adverse weather conditions and Asia’s strong demand for food imports caused food prices to climb 8 percent from December 2011 to March 2012.

The index was 1 percent below one year ago and 6 percent below the historic peak set in February 2011. Prices of all key staples increased during the December 2011-March 2012 period, except for rice that dropped 6 percent due to both abundant supply and strong competition among exporters.

Fats and oils increased 13 percent, followed by maize( 9 percent), soybean oil (7 percent), wheat (6 percent) and sugar (5 percent).

The World Bank said production outlooks remain strong for 2012/13 and a number of factors have kept pressures on prices at bay. Record prices in late 2010 and early 2011 led to increased production of major crops worldwide, and are a key factor in the strong projections for the 2012/13 season.

The slowdown in maize use for ethanol production in the US and weak global demand due to the euro crisis are contributing to keeping upward price pressures on check.