U.N. report forecasts continued high food prices for the next decade
Food prices worldwide are likely to remain relatively high for at least the next decade, according to an analysis by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Biofuel demand, high energy costs, and commodity speculation will continue to keep food prices high in the long term, despite periodic dips in price. Climate change is also expected to increase food prices by driving down future crop yields. The FAO forecast that wheat prices could be up to 60 percent higher in 2017 and vegetable oil prices could rise up to 80 percent. “Biofuels are the largest new source of demand for agriculture and are causing higher prices,” said Merritt Cluff, one of the report authors. “We are very worried particularly about biofuel policy. U.S. government incentives for ethanol producers are distorting the market.” As always, the world’s poor will be the hardest hit. “In the short term, humanitarian aid for the populations in countries most severely affected is urgently required,” the report said.