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Global Food Prices Climb 28% in 2021

Bloomberg writer Megan Durisin reported on Thursday that, “Global food prices declined from near a record high at the end of last year, offering some respite to consumers and governments facing a wave of inflationary pressures.

“Food Costs Ease From Near Record, Offering Inflation Respite,” by Megan Durisin. Bloomberg News (January 6, 2022).

“A United Nations index tracking everything from grains to meat fell 0.9% in December, potentially helping to ease the run-up in prices of grocery store products.

Still, the gauge remains near 2011’s all-time high and average prices jumped about 28% in 2021, the most in 14 years.

The Bloomberg article noted that, “Food costs are unlikely to stabilize for a while yet, according to Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

‘Nothing fundamentally changed over the last two to three months to make us feel any degree of optimism that the food market is going to resettle at more steady or even lower prices,’ he said. ‘All of the uncertainties are right there, they haven’t disappeared, which means that anything is still possible.'”

Durisin added that, “The recent energy crunch has sent fertilizer prices higher too, threatening to further add to food-production costs. There are already signs that farmers are cutting back on nutrient purchases or shifting from grains to less fertilizer-intensive crops.”

And Reuters News reported on Thursday that, “World food prices jumped 28% in 2021 to their highest level in a decade and hopes for a return to more stable market conditions this year are slim, the U.N.’s food agency said on Thursday.

“The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 125.7 points in 2021, the highest since 131.9 in 2011.”

The Reuters article explained that, “A surge in the price of fertilisers, linked in turn to spiralling energy prices, has ramped up the cost of so-called inputs used by farmers to produce crops, raising doubts over yield prospects for next year’s harvests.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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