Global food prices have broken a 10-year record. FAO reports that the cost of a basket of food products has increased continuously for the past three months. The increase in food prices, especially cereals, might lead to an increase in hunger worldwide.
"The FAO Cereal Price Index increased 3.2 percent in October from the previous month, with a 5 percent rise in world wheat prices due to the decline in availability as a result of reduced harvests in the main exporting countries,” reads FAO’s Food Price Index. The biggest change can be seen in cereals, which were 3.2 percent more expensive, followed by vegetable oils’ 9.6 percent price increase and dairy products’ 2.6 percent. However, the price of meat and sugar went down by 0.7 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
Global cereal production is expected to increase to a new record this year thanks to higher than previously anticipated yields in Brazil and India and improved prospects in several West African countries. Despite that, world reserves of cereals are expected to shrink by late 2022, falling 0.8 percent. As a result, a slight decline in the ratio of cereal stocks to global utilization is forecasted: from 29.4 percent in 2020-2021 to 28.5 percent in 2021-2022.
Food prices have wildly fluctuated during 2021. Back in June, FAO reported that food prices were decreasing, as reported by MBN. These fluctuations put poor communities around the world at risk at a time when they are already experiencing deaths from hunger, which in some cases surpassed those of COVID-19. By the end of 2021, the population in extreme poverty is expected to climb to 745 million, adding 100 million since the pandemic began.
Rising food costs will also impact Mexico, which counts corn as one of its main foods. According to data from Grupo Consultor de Mercados Agrícolas, corn imports are expected to reach a record at the end of 2021 with 17.9 million tons, 11.4 percent higher than the previous year, as reports El Heraldo.