Last updated: November 26, 2007 9:16 pm

Why are food prices rising?

Food prices have been rising steadily in the past few months and the effects are being felt globally. As agricultural commodities such as wheat and dairy trade at record highs, some governments, such as Russia, are implementing price controls on selected types of bread, cheese, milk, eggs and vegetable oil.

But why is food getting more expensive? What role do biofuels play and how has the weather affected crop yields this year? How does the cost of oil factor into the price of food? Our multimedia feature explains.

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Nestlé, the world’s biggest food company has called on European policymakers to reconsider their opposition to genetically modified crops, as soaring commodity prices put basic foodstuffs such as wheat and rice out of reach of the world’s poorest. “You cannot today feed the world without genetically modified organisms,” Peter Brabeck, chairman of Nestlé, told the Financial Times.

Have your say: Do you think that genetically-modified crops are essential to feed the world as soaring global agricultural commodity prices put basic foodstuffs like wheat and rice out of reach of the world’s poorest people?

Join the discussion and post your reply here.

Analysis
Bread and butter issue

Many governments are concerned about food security and the implications for political stability as prices rocket

Comment
Biofuels: a tale of special interests and subsidies

The flood of subsidies for biofuels are farm programmes masquerading as answers to energy insecurity and climate change. Martin Wolf dismantles common arguments proponents of biofuels use to rationalize subsidies, mandates and protectionist measures.

The high cost of cheap food

Related Articles
In-depth: The rising cost of food

Tight supplies, changing weather patterns and rising demand in emerging economies have all contributed to rising food prices, pointing to a long-term, structural change.

Ask the Expert
Q&A: The global food prices debate

Jeffrey Currie, global head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs, Marc Cohen, research fellow at International Food Policy Research Insitutute and Steven Were Omamo, chief of the Word Food Programme's social protection and livelihoods service, answered readers’ questions on the rising cost of food.

Q&A: Will biofuels end Opec's power and agricultural protectionism?

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