Rising food prices

Source: David Monniaux, Wikipedia

I woke up this morning to the not unexpected news that food prices are rising. Particularly wheat. In the UK we are talking about yields being 15 per cent down. The dry spring and wet summer are the key factors for the UK. Drought in the prairies in the US and Russia have just compounded the situation.

Speculators are, clearly, going to do well out of this. It strikes me that a monkey could have speculated on this when the seeds were originally sown. I’m told that it will be hard for poultry and pig farmers as half of the grain crop goes to feeding these secondary sources of protein. I do feel that it is about time that the price of chicken and pork reflected the real world a little better. Maybe more of us can cut down or even eradicate meat from our diets. It is not going to get any better.

However, rising food prices do hit the poor disproportionately. The Guardian quotes Tim Lang, professor of food policy at London’s City University speaking on the Today progamme on the BBC. “Lang said the poorest 10% of households in the UK had seen a drop in food affordability of 20% in the last eight years and that this was also a “disaster for public health” as the price of healthier produce such as fruit had risen by 34% in the last five years. Lang, who coined the phrase “food miles”, said: “Most analysts think the long drop in food prices, of affordability, is over. We are now in a new world, a world of new fundamentals, not just bad weather this year but a long-term squeeze.””


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