Aid groups cheer food price fall to 4-year low, "hunger hotspots" remain

Thu Oct 9, 2014 9:32am EDT
 
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By Chris Arsenault

ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - World food prices have hit a four-year low, a UN agency reported on Thursday, with record harvests breathing new hope into the fight against hunger, though some "hunger hotspots" remain.

Global wheat production is forecast to reach a record high in 2014, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in its monthly food price index released in Rome.

Other coarse grains, including maize, are seeing a "comfortable" balance between supply and demand, leading to the lowest world prices since August 2010, it said.

"Lower prices are good news from two points of view," Jane Howard, a spokeswoman for the World Food Programme, said in an email interview.

"Fewer people go to bed hungry every night and it also means our organization's food bill – buying food for our operations – is lower."

Global cereal stocks are expected to rise above 2.5 billion tonnes, their highest level in 15 years.

Prices of sugar and dairy products fell most sharply in the latest monthly report, followed by cereals and oils, while meat prices remained high.

But not everyone is happy. Low prices mean large trading houses and integrated supermarkets are paying less to small farmers.   Continued...