Food prices will continue to rise, groups warn
Food prices will continue to rise in the coming decade increasing the risk of malnutrition and hunger among the world's poor, two international organizations warn.
In a joint report, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned that the risk that volatile prices, which have already hurt farmers across the globe, remains high.
The OECD report backed France's demand for increased transparency and more regulation and public information in the farm commodities markets as a key measure to stabilize prices.
"Information is absolutely of the essence," OECD chief Angel Gurria said.
"The one market that we don't know and where we have a lot of blind spots is precisely the agricultural market," said Gurria, adding critical information like the size of stocks remains largely hidden.
French farm minister Bruno Le Maire said controlling excessive market speculation through tougher regulation, supervision and transparency would go a long way to avoid the price instability seen in recent years.
He said he realizes that finding agreement among the G-20 nations poses many challenges.
The two agencies warned that the drought in several key regions will be critical to how well harvests go.
"It still remains to be seen to what extent the dry conditions in much of Europe affect world markets this year," said Gurria.
The report predicts that prices for cereals will rise by 20 per cent, and those for meat will increase by up to 30 per cent over the next 10 years, compared with the previous decade.
It will specifically hit poor people who now already spend up to 80 per cent of their income on food.
"People are going be forced either to literally eat less, or find other sources of income," Gurria said.
An extreme food price hike in 2008 spurred riots in almost two dozen nations on three continents, and did much to bring the potential of political instability because of food prices to the fore.
With files from The Associated Press