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Covid-19 and food security: can emerging economies mitigate rising prices?

The Food Price Index, established by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to track monthly changes in international food prices, rose for the eighth consecutive month in January, primarily as a result of Covid-19.

Oxford Business Group

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Covid-19 and food security: can emerging economies mitigate rising prices?

An increase in food prices following the coronavirus pandemic has intensified concerns related to global food security. For emerging markets, this has further underlined the importance of regional cooperation and innovative solutions to help overcome the challenges.

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– Global food prices rose to a seven-year high in January
– The FAO anticipates an imminent drop in cereal stocks
– Many emerging markets are facing mounting food insecurity
– Increased regional integration and tech developments offer lasting solutions

The Food Price Index, established by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to track monthly changes in international food prices, rose for the eighth consecutive month in January, primarily as a result of Covid-19.

The index averaged 113.3 points in January, a 4.3% rise against December and its highest level since July 2014.

The FAO Sugar Price Index saw the steepest rise, at 8.1%. Behind this came the Cereal Price Index, at 7.1%. Notably, maize prices grew 11.2% and are now 42.3% above their January 2020 level. This can partly be attributed to high demand in China, which imported record levels of crops last year.

Meanwhile, the Vegetable Oil Price Index rose by 5.8% to its highest level since May 2012. Dairy and meat prices also saw increases of 1.6% and 1%, respectively.

The FAO also forecast an imminent decline in global cereal stocks, with cereal utilisation for the 2020/21 period projected to reach 2761m tonnes globally, an increase of 52m tonnes relative to the previous season.

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Thai Mango growers complain of low prices and fewer exports

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Mango orchard owners in Thailand’s northern province of Phitsanuloke are seeking help from the provincial administration to promote the sale of their sweet fruit, particularly Barracuda Mango variety.

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Photo : Adam Jones

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Thailand’s rice exports slump to decade low

Thailand could drop to the world’s third largest rice exporter, after Vietnam and India, as Thai rice exports slump to a decade low of 6.5 million tonnes.

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The strong baht makes it harder for Thai exporters to compete with other top producers like Vietnam and India.

The Thai Rice Exporters Association cut its projection for 2020 rice exports from 7.5 million tonnes to 6.5 million tonnes, the lowest in a decade.

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