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Updated On: Saturday, 21 July 2018
Development Issues

The Influence of Food Prices

Report by: FAO

11 August 2014, New York, USA | South-South News - Even slight changes in food prices can have a devastating effect on nutrition rates in developing countries. When the prices of grains, vegetables, and animal proteins rise, the those living on a dollar or less a day will see their purchasing power diminish dramatically.

In the biannual publication food outlook, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization takes a look at the global food markets, the fluctuations of food prices. Throughout 2014, food prices have been affected by both weather patterns and political tensions, but overall the production of most basic food necessities have gone up and trade has seen a boost.

 Read some of the key findings from the report below, then click here to read the full report.

Food markets have been affected by weather concerns and political tensions in the Black Sea region, which have boosted the FAO Food Price Index since February. While the 2014 global food import bill could stabilize at USD 1.29 trillion, animal product bills are set to increase, sustained by rising volumes and prices.


International trade in rice may reach a new record in 2014, as lower world prices induce traditional importers to return to the market to buy more. This, along with the potential of an El Niño event in the second part of 2014, may help reverse the slide of Indica prices witnessed in the past twelve months.


World meat production is anticipated to grow moderately in 2014. International prices have remained at historically high levels since the beginning of 2011 and, while the price situation varies among the different types of meat, there is no sign of an overall decrease.


In recent months, weather and geopolitical tensions pushed up wheat prices in international markets. However, the early supply and demand outlook for wheat in the 2014/15 marketing season points to a generally balanced situation, with world stocks remaining at relatively comfortable levels in spite of a forecast decline in world wheat production.

Coarse Grains

With world production of coarse grains headed towards a modest decline, inventories will have to be drawn down to meet the projected demand in the 2014/15 season. This tightening will not be a cause for concern if the current production forecasts materialize and trade flows are not negatively affected by tensions in the Black Sea region.

Sugar World

sugar production is forecast to decline marginally in 2013/14, but will still be enough to cover projected global consumption and enable a build-up in global stocks. On the other hand, world sugar trade is anticipated to increase significantly in 2013/14, reflecting greater demand from the traditional importing countries.


A combination of renewed demand in traditional markets and supply shortages for a number of farmed species has boosted overall price levels. The likely arrival of the El Niño phenomenon in 2014 could reduce South American catches of small pelagic species and lead to higher fishmeal and feed prices.


Oil and meal market fundamentals are set to improve in 2013/14, thanks to record-high oilcrop production. Nonetheless, prices trended upward, reacting to a tight balance in the United States, to a slow production growth in palm oil, and to successive cuts in soybean production estimates.


International dairy product prices declined in March and experienced a further, sharper fall in April, returning to a level similar to a year ago. Milk production continues to increase steadily in many countries.



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