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UN warns of rise in food prices

The UN has warned of increasing meat and dairy prices in the wake of extreme weather in the US and across large parts of Europe and other centres of global food production.

world Updated: Oct 12, 2012 02:50 IST

The UN has warned of increasing meat and dairy prices in the wake of extreme weather in the US and across large parts of Europe and other centres of global food production.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome, global wheat production is expected to fall 5.2% in 2012 and yields from many other crops grown to feed animals could be 10% down on last year.

"Populations are growing but production is not keeping up with consumption. Prices for wheat have already risen 25% in 2012, maize 13% and dairy prices rose 7% just last month.

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"It means that food supplies are tight across the board and there is very little room for unexpected events," said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist with the FAO.

"The decrease in cereal production will result in a significant reduction in world reserves by the close of seasons in 2013, even with world demand sliding as a result of high prices," he said.

Confirmation of one of the worst global harvests in years will come on Thursday, when the c government is expected to announce that drought and heat damage to crops this year has reduced its wheat, maize and soy harvests by more than 10%.

Because the US is by far the world's biggest grower and exporter of grains, this is expected to have repercussions around the world. Farmers are still harvesting their crops but the maize harvest is expected to be the lowest in nine years.