According to The New York Times, global prices for meats, dairy products, and cereals rose last month, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported Oct. 4. The agency said that on average, prices increased 1.4% in September, after remaining steady in July and August. Scorching heat and drought in the United States, Russia, and Europe constricted agricultural production and pushed up prices of corn and soybeans to record highs, the report said.
The largest increases were for dairy products, which rose 7% in September, their sharpest climb since January 2011. Higher feed costs were a major factor in the increase, and also helped to drive meat prices up 2.1%, especially in the “grain intensive” pork and poultry industries, the report said. Cereal prices rose 1%, and the food agency forecast a decline in global cereal production this year.
Despite the recent price increases, the agency’s overall food price index, which measures monthly price changes for a basket of goods including cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat, and sugar, remains below the levels it reached in 2011, when high food prices led to unrest in the Middle East and northern Africa. But, adjusted for inflation, the index is now only 13% below its levels of 2008, when food costs set off riots in several countries.
The New York Times article