World must brace for higher food prices, say experts
PARIS — With drought parching farms in the United States and near the Black Sea, weak monsoon rains in India and insidious hunger in Africa’s Sahel region, the world could be headed towards another food crisis. Asia should keep a catastrophe at bay with a strong rice harvest while the G20 group of industrialised and emerging economies tries to parry the main threat, soaring food prices.
“We have had quite a few climate events this year that will lead to very poor harvests, notably in the United States with corn or in Russia with soja,” warned Philippe Pinta of the French farmers federation FNSEA. “That will create price pressures similar to what we saw in 2007-2008,” he added in reference to the last global food alert, when wheat and rice prices nearly doubled.
In India, “all eyes will be on food inflation — whether the impact of a weak monsoon feeds into food prices,” Samiran Chakraborty, regional head of research at Standard Chartered Bank was quoted by Dow Jones Newswires as saying.
Monsoon rains were 15.2 per cent below average in mid-August, according to latest data from India weather bureau, and Asian rice prices are forecast to rise by as much as 10 per cent in the coming months as supplies tighten.