Global food supply hit by severe weather leading to low yield

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 05, 2012 10:50 hrs

Rising food prices have been blamed on a number of factors such as rising energy costs, changing land use for bio-fuel production, local conflicts, and an increasing demand for meat and dairy products.

But 2012's severe weather events around the world have led to low yields in nations such as the U.S. that export grain.

Oxfam fears climate change is responsible for low food supply, and that impoverished people could be facing a future of high food prices driven by extreme weather trends, the CNN reports.

"High and volatile food prices spell misery for millions of people like Jaria who face a daily struggle to put food on the table. This is man-made misery in a world which produces enough for everyone to eat," Oxfam spokesperson Colin Roach said.

"Against a backdrop of rising populations and changing diets which will see global food production struggle to keep pace with increasing demand, the food security outlook in a future of unchecked climate change is bleak," A recent study commissioned by Oxfam into global warming and food prices, said.

While much of North America baked in the hottest July on record and the Mid-West suffered its worst drought in 56 years, the UK endured its wettest summer in a century.

"From Ukraine to Yellowstone, in Pakistan and Kazakhstan, the skies have stayed clear, and the earth has been parched. And on the world's commodity exchanges, the prices of corn, soybeans, wheat and tea are surging," back in September, CNN reported.

According to the report, Michael Roberts, an associate professor of economics at the University of Hawaii, wrote in August that lower U.S. crop yields would impact the world's poorest and could lead to social unrest.

"For these people, a huge rise in grain prices is more than noticeable-it can break their budget. In 2008 and 2011, when corn prices went up to levels nearly as high as today's, the world saw a sharp rise in food riots. Many pointed to wheat prices as a catalyst for revolutions in the Middle East, including Egypt, Tunisia and Libya," Roberts said.

Oxfam said that commodities futures markets indicate that there may be another spike in prices in early 2013, but expected high and volatile food prices in the medium to long term, the report added. (ANI)

More from Sify: