By Carol McCracken (Pos # 703)
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), world food prices surged to a new historic peak last month, January, for the seventh consecutive month. The FAO Food Price Index said that global food prices were up in January 3.4 percent – from December. That’s the highest level (both in real and nominal terms) since FAO started measuring food prices in 1990.
According to an economist for FAO: “These high prices are likely to persist in the months to come. High food prices are of major concern especially for low-income food deficit countries that may face problems in financing food imports and for poor h ouseholds which spend a large share of their income on food.” The economist, Abdoireza Abbassian went on to say: “The only encouraging factor so far stems from a number of countries, where due to good harvests – domestic prices of some of the food staples remain low compared to world prices.”
It is believed that the on-going protests in Egypt are driven partly by food costs, although not exclusively. Egypt has had food protests in the past.
The increase in January mostly reflected continuing increases in international prices of wheat and maize, amid tightening supplies, while rice prices fell slightly, as the time concides with the harvesting of main crops in major exporting countries.
“Sustainable Food News” is published by Hill resident, Dan McGovern. It’s the largest on-line organic newsletter to the organic food industry. For more information on it, please call Dan at: (207) 749-5249.