Business, Economics and Jobs

World food prices increase 10 percent in July


Darren Becker sifts through arid topsoil under a ruined crop on the family farm on August 24, 2012 in Logan, Kansas.


John Moore

Worldwide food prices increased by 10 percent in July, according to the World Bank. 

In a statement on Thursday, the World Bank noted that from June to July, corn and wheat prices rose by 25 percent each, soybean prices by 17 percent, "and only rice prices went down, by 4 percent."

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said in the statement, "We cannot allow these historic price hikes to turn into a lifetime of perils as families take their children out of school and eat less nutritious food to compensate for the high prices. Countries must strengthen their targeted programs to ease the pressure on the most vulnerable population, and implement the right policies."

Kim added, "Africa and the Middle East are particularly vulnerable, but so are people in other countries where the prices of grains have gone up abruptly."

CNN noted this increase in food prices is partially due to the extreme drought conditions facing most of the United States, adding that the US is facing the worst production shortfalls since the "Dust Bowl" of the 1930s. According to Food Price Watch, an extremely hot summer in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan also ravaged wheat supplies, CNN reported.

Danielle Nierenberg, director of the Nourishing the Planet program at the Worldwatch Institute, told Al Jazeera that there may be a silver lining to the US drought. 

“The silver lining of the current drought is that the West can perhaps take a new look at the sustainable practices that have been helping many African farmers combat drought. This is an opportunity for the Western world to look to the developing world – they have a lot to teach us.”

Nierenberg believes it will be at least a year before we feel the full ramifications of the drought. 

For more on the worldwide impact of the drought, visit GlobalPost's Drylands series.