Slow farm growth could raise world food prices, FAO warns

DPA Beijing | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on June 06, 2013

Production shortfalls, price volatility and trade disruption “remain a threat to global food security, says an UN FAO report.

Slow growth of agricultural production and strong demand for biofuels could push up global food prices over the next decade, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization warned on Thursday.

Agricultural production is expected to expand by an annual average of 1.5 per cent to 2022, down from 2.1 per cent in the previous decade, the FAO said in a joint report with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“High food prices are an incentive to increase production and we need to do our best to ensure that poor farmers benefit from them,” FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said.

A lack of new agricultural land, rising costs and increasing environmental pressures are the main factors curbing growth, the report said.

But the FAO said it expected supplies of agricultural commodities to keep pace with global demand despite the limits on production growth.

Prices were forecast to remain “above historical averages over the medium term” for both crop and livestock products because of slower production growth and stronger demand for food and biofuels, it said.

Production shortfalls, price volatility and trade disruption “remain a threat to global food security,” the report said.

“As long as food stocks in major producing and consuming countries remain low, the risk of price volatility is amplified,” it warned.

“A widespread drought such as the one experienced in 2012, on top of low food stocks, could raise world prices by 15 per cent to 40 per cent,” it said.

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Published on June 06, 2013
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