Rising Food Prices and Global Food Needs: The U.S. Response [May 8, 2008]   [open pdf - 142KB]

"Rising food prices are having impacts across the world, but especially among poor people in low-income developing countries. Since 2000, a year of low food prices, wheat prices in international markets have more than tripled, corn prices have doubled, and rice prices rose to unprecedented levels in March 2008. Such increases in food prices have raised concerns about the ability of poor people to meet their food and nutrition needs and in a number of countries have lead to civil unrest. More than 33 countries, most of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa are particularly affected by food prices increases. The World Bank has estimated that more than 100 million people are being pushed into poverty as a result of food-price escalation. A number of interrelated factors have been identified as causes of the rising food prices. Droughts in Australia and Eastern Europe and poor weather in Canada, Western Europe and Ukraine in 2007 have reduced available supplies. Reduced stocks have prompted many countries to restrict exports. Rising oil and energy prices have affected all levels of the food production and marketing chain from fertilizer costs to harvesting, transporting and processing food. Higher incomes in emerging markets like China and India have resulted in strong demand for food commodities, meat and processed foods and higher prices in world markets. Increased demand for biofuels has reduced the availability of agricultural products for food or feed use. Export restrictions in many countries have exacerbated the short supply situation."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL34478
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