As the global economy continues to change, food prices continue to climb. What does this mean for the average consumer? Do we sacrifice in other areas to continue to provide well-­­­­­balanced, nutritional food; or do we skimp to cut costs?

The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2011-2020 stated that higher agriculture commodity prices are here to stay.  Meats will rise 30 percent higher, cereals could average as much as 20 percent higher, and the impact on the poor in developing countries could be devastating.

"While higher prices are generally good news for farmers, the impact on the poor in developing countries who spend a high proportion of their income on food can be devastating," said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría.
Action should focus in particular on smallholders in low-income food-deficit countries, he added.
This year will be the fifth year of high and volatile prices, which with slow production growth under high cost will have a detrimental effect on the American consumer pockets and health of those in developing countries.


But what is behind these continued rising prices, and how can we change it? The increase cannot be pinpointed to one thing, but is instead a result of a multitude of factors.  Weather and climate change, energy prices, exchange rates, growing demand, trade restrictions and simple speculation are some of the reasons we will see continued escalation in our food costs.


  
“Slower growth is expected for most crops, especially oilseeds and coarse grains,” they said in the report. "The global slowdown in projected yield improvements of important crops will continue to exert pressure on international prices.”


The Outlook does have a strategy for protecting the poor by adopting a risk management strategies plan. What else can we do? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation started a Small Farmers are the Answer Challenge, which focuses on how we can help teach others to become small famers to help fight against hunger and poverty.


What will you have to do when food prices start to climb higher: sacrifice or starve? Have you already had to make changes to the foods you eat to avoid higher grocery bills?

Author

Maegan Clark

Maegan Clark loves social media even more than Southern sweet tea. She is currently pursuing her master’s in public administration and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a specialized study in public relations. Since working at Heifer, she has deepened her appreciation for the urgency with which we must end global hunger and poverty.