Time for declining food prices at end as world population poised to grow by 2 billion people, Cargill says; global food production must increase 70% by 2050 to feed population, FAO says

LOS ANGELES , February 6, 2012 () – The time for declining food prices has ended, with the world population poised to increase by an additional 2 billion people, according to Cargill Inc, Bloomberg reported Feb. 6.

Global food production must increase 70% by 2050 to feed a world population that is estimated to reach 9 billion from 7 billion currently, as a growing number of wealthy consumers eat more meat, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

Food prices tracked by the FAO reached record highs a year ago amid surging grain prices. The food-price index was up 23% year-over-year in 2011 to an average of 228 points, breaking the 2008 points seen in 2008 amid food riots in countries including Haiti and Egypt. Since then prices have fell 11% by December.

Countries including India, Egypt, Vietnam, and Indonesia banned exports of rice in response to the 2008 food price crisis. In 2010, Russia implemented a ban on cereal exports after the country saw the worst drought in at last half a century, which sent grain prices surging across the world.

G20 farm ministers agreed in June to set limits on exports bans and create a crop database to address rising food prices. Wheat prices have doubled since 2005, while raw sugar has doubled since December 2008 and orange juice hit record highs last month.

The desire to produce all food locally is “complete nonsense,” as 2008 export bans were a desire for self-sufficiency, which disrupted global trade and exacerbated food prices at that time, according to Cargill vice chairman Paul Conway.

The primary source of this article is Bloomberg, New York, New York, on Feb. 6, 2012.

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