The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that global food prices have declined largely as a result of a drop in cereal and vegetable oil prices. But conflicts and adverse weather continue to threaten food security in many countries.
The FAOs price index – which measures monthly changes in the global price of a basket of meat, dairy, cereals, oils and fats, and sugar – averaged 206.0 points in June 2014, down 3.8 points (1.8 per cent) from May and nearly 6 points (2.8 per cent) below the June 2013 level.
It also found that the price of cereal, vegetable oils and dairy decreased further from its last published data in May, while the price of meat edged up, reflecting a constrained world supply.
The FOA noted an improvement in the global production of cereal, a staple food in many countries. Total production in 2014 is 18 million tonnes higher than in 2013. The increase reflects improved production for coarse grains and wheat crops, particularly in the US, the EU and India.
However, despite increased supplies and lower average prices, the agency warns that millions of people still face food insecurity due to conflict, crop failure and high domestic food prices. Some 33 countries, including 26 in Africa, are in need of access external assistance. The agency pointed in particular to conflicts in the Central African Republic, Syria and Iraq where on-going conflicts both jeopardize crop production and negatively impact food security and access to drinking water.
Photo credit: Rosana Prada/Creative Commons