Sustainability FAO-Food-Nov11-featured

Published on December 9th, 2011 | by Steve Savage

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Food Price Spike Persisting

Yesterday the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released it’s monthly index of global food prices.  When the current price spike is compared with the one that occurred in 2007/8, the striking difference is the persistence of relatively high prices.  Rather than falling rapidly as in 2008, this “spike” is only showing a modest decline 23 months into the cycle (see chart above).  One UN economist is quoted as saying that prices are “stabilizing at high levels.” Back in October I thought it would take until January to know if this spike was actually different.  Now it seems clear that it is.

Cereal prices were down marginally (see chart above) and following a record harvest there is hope that they will ease further in coming months.  Meat prices, which have risen far further in this spike than in the last, show no real sign of decline (see chart below)

The dairy index dropped slightly, but the index for fats and oils actually increased.

These prices are most relevant for nations which are largely dependent on food imports.  Unfortunately this month’s report is not encouraging for the world’s poor.

My website is Applied Mythology. My email is savage.sd@gmail.com.



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About the Author

Born in Denver, now living near San Diego. Agricultural scientist for 30+ years with a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology. Have worked for Colorado State University, DuPont and Mycogen and for the last 13 years consulting for all sorts or companies, universities and grower groups. Experience in biological control, natural products, synthetic chemicals, genetics, GMOs and agronomic practices. Have given multiple invited talks on the interaction between agriculture and climate change (both ways)



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