The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has said there will be bumper harvests this year, but that might not be enough to protect the world’s poorest countries from dramatically higher food bills. The global wheat crop will be up, but rice – which is a staple for more than half the world’s population – will remain in short supply at least until October-November.
The FAO’s Assistant Director-General Hafez Ghanen told reporters: “We hope and we expect better harvests in 2008 and we already see that our food price index has stabilised. This improvement or forecast improvement in supply should in principle help the markets, however we do not expect to see prices going down to what they were before.”
The Food and Agriculture Organisation said that poor countries that rely on food imports could see their food bills rise by 40% forty per cent this year, following a similar increase last year. While supermarket prices have risen in richer nations, the effect is much harsher in developing countries where people spend 50% to 80% of their income on food.