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Food prices remain high into 2022 on shortages due to extreme weather


Extreme weather events linked to climate change drive up commodity prices. Charts showing Saskatchewan yellow pea price (C$ per bushel) up 85% in 2021 Belgian Bintje potato price ($ per tonne) up 180% in 2021 ICE arabica coffee price ($ per pound) up 76% in 2021  Severe frost affects coffee crop in July driving up prices that continue rising into the fourth quarter  Major flooding in Belgium and Germany in July causes spike in potato prices   Unprecedented heatwave in Canada in early July sends pea prices rocketing

Excessive climate occasions in 2021 triggered spikes within the costs of agricultural commodities, which remained elevated into 2022, as the bizarre circumstances that broken crops resulted in ongoing shortages.

The value of products together with Brazilian espresso, Belgian potatoes and Canadian yellow peas — in demand as a protein substitute in plant-based meals — rose sharply final yr in response to excessive temperatures and flooding.

Scientists have warned that these circumstances will turn out to be extra frequent and intense as local weather change accelerates.

Logistical points and adjustments to consumption habits ensuing from the pandemic additionally drove up the worth of staple items comparable to sugar and wheat final yr.

“Agriculture is without doubt one of the most uncovered sectors to local weather change,” in danger from each particular person excessive climate occasions and long-term shifts in climatic patterns, stated a report by Stockholm Setting Institute. The dangers have been “many instances larger” than the alternatives for the sector, it stated.

A succession of utmost climate occasions that occurred world wide throughout the center of 2021 broken a spread of crops, which drove up costs.

Extreme frosts in Brazil hit the nation’s espresso belt in July, sending costs to close seven-year highs. International provide chain disruption and a scarcity of container ships additionally drove costs increased later within the yr.

The climate in Brazil has continued to be erratic, heightening issues about additional crop harm.

The La Niña climate sample developed for the second consecutive yr on the finish of 2021, with the phenomenon anticipated to accentuate rainfall in addition to droughts world wide.

“After we know that La Nina will strike this yr, we are able to already see the costs reacting prematurely, even earlier than the actual phenomenon takes place,” stated Mario Zappacosta, a senior economist on the Meals and Agriculture Group of the United Nations.

That would have a “contagious impact,” the place the worth of substitute crops additionally rises, he added.

In the meantime, an unprecedented heatwave and drought in Canada throughout the center of 2021 hit manufacturing and despatched pea costs rocketing. The value of peas greater than doubled, affecting producers of plant-based meat options that depend on the ingredient.

The value of Belgian potatoes additionally surged after flooding devastated massive swaths of Europe throughout the continent’s summer season.

Of their report, researchers on the Stockholm Setting Institute stated local weather change would “dramatically impression agricultural manufacturing throughout the globe,” and would cut back crop yields in sure areas.

International sugar cane yields may fall 59 per cent within the final three many years to 2100, in comparison with yields within the interval 1980-2010, whereas Arabica espresso and maize may fall 45 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively, they estimated.

“This can be a huge hole in our planning for [climate] adaptation,” stated Magnus Benzie, one of many report authors. Decrease yields and better costs may trigger meals insecurity in much less resilient, import-dependent nations, and likewise drive up prices for customers world wide, he stated.

How nations reacted to excessive occasions and shortages — whether or not they stockpiled or imposed commerce restrictions, for instance — may exacerbate crises, he added.

Concurrent crises, comparable to successive or simultaneous droughts, have been additionally more likely to intensify shortages, and are anticipated to turn out to be extra frequent because the world warms up, stated Benzie.

Extra reporting by Emiko Terazono.

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