25 September 2010, 15:38

High grain prices may provoke world food crisis

High grain prices may provoke world food crisis
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Grain price growth poses a threat to world food security, claim experts of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO. The FAO experts meet in Rome twice a year to take up problems of food accessibility, to ensure an active and healthy life to one and all.

Grain price growth poses a threat to world food security, claim experts of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO. The FAO experts meet in Rome twice a year to take up problems of food accessibility, to ensure an active and healthy life to one and all. But this time it was an emergency meeting to look into the world grain market situation.

World prices for wheat and other grain crops keep steadily increasing. The FAO experts pointed out in their recent reports that the situation around gain reserves in the world causes no apprehension, despite major harvest losses due to this summer’s drought. Nonetheless, the cost of a bushel of wheat in the United States has doubled as against the price of September last year, while in Europe the price has grown by 80%.

A number of experts have rushed to link growth in grain costs to Russia’s decision to impose a provisional ban on its own grain exports. The Chairman of the Russian Duma Agrarian Committee Valentin Denisov shrugs off the claims as rubbish, and says this, for his part.

The imposition of Russia’s embargo on grain exports, Valentin Denisov says, has been prompted by this country’s internal interests and the need to settle its home problems. This can in no way cause the world grain prices to grow. Nor does it mean that Russia will not return to the world grain market in the next few years. But at the moment Russia is not the strongest player on that market. However, the trends of agricultural development that have taken shape in recent years make competitors fear Russia.

Valentin Denisov feels that pointing an accusing finger at Russia’s grain policy as the root of the problem actually amounts to an attempt to denigrate this country’s reputation and also distract public attention from a much graver problem, - the fact that almost all food products, not only grain, grow ever more expensive.

Bread, meat, milk, eggs and vegetable oil cost more today than in spring this year. The situation will deal a heavy blow at the importer-nation budgets. The poor countries will be the hardest hit, since they have to rely on international loans to settle their food programme-related problems. Mass-scale unrest has already flared up in Mozambique in the face of a threat of famine owing to growth in foodstuff prices.

This is a hard fact, although, of course, there is no objective cause of major growth in food prices in the world. The FAO experts will now have to come up with protection mechanisms against price spikes in the event of climate cataclysms, and also to dig up reserves to fend off the threat of famine in developing nations.    

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