"Downpours and heat waves caused by climate change could disrupt food supplies from the fields to the supermarkets, raising the risk of more price spikes such as this year's leap triggered by drought in the United States," Reuters reports. "Food security experts working on a chapter in a U.N. overview of global warming due in 2014 said governments should take more account of how extremes of heat, droughts or floods could affect food supplies from seeds to consumers' plates," the news service writes (Doyle, 8/15). "The U.N. and global leaders have paid particular attention in recent weeks to U.S. biofuels policy as drought ravages corn supplies," The Hill's "E2 Wire" blog notes, adding, "They say the country needs to free up more of its corn for food to combat rising prices that heavily affect poor nations" (Colman, 8/16).
"[A] range of economists and food experts are also warning against overreaction that could create panic, causing governments to apply export controls that would restrict supplies of grains," according to IRIN. "This would affect markets and push prices still higher, they say," the news service adds. "'The crisis is not here yet,' said Shenggen Fan, director of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)," IRIN writes. "But if droughts in India, Russia and a couple of other major food producers become worse, we will see continued tightened food supply. Trade restrictions by these countries will make the situation worse," Fan added, the news service notes (8/16).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.