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  • Edición impresa de Febrero 15, 2011

Food Prices Crisis: Why the cost of food is on the rise

If you had to dig a little deeper in your pocket to pay for groceries this week, you are not alone. World food prices rose to a record high in January. That is according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Still, what Americans are paying at the grocery store is significantly less than in other countries. That is little comfort to families across America who have seen prices rise over the last several years.

According to measurements by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of most food items has been steadily rising over the past ten years.

-In December 2000, butter was about $2.79 a pound. In December 2010, it was $3.41 a pound.

-The price of a beef round roast has gone up as well. From about $2.87 per pound in December 2000 to $3.96 a pound in December 2010.

-Spaghetti was about 84 cents a pound ten years ago. In December 2010 it was about $1.19 per pound.

-Whole milk was $2.78 a gallon in 2000, about $3.31 in 2010.

Soybeans cost about $5 a bushel a few years ago. Now? 14 to 15 dollars a bushel.

The problem is our world supply of corn and soybeans are at critically low levels. To meet the current demand, some experts say in the next 50 years, farmers around the world need to double production.

“That means a hundred percent more food in the next 50 years and most people say we are going to be able to do that,” says Yoder. “70 percent of that has to come from biotechnology and new advanced technology farming techniques. Because we are out of land. We are out of farm land in the world. We have got everything farmed that we can farm. See, we have to do a better job and the only way farmers can afford to do that is for them to get more money for their corn.”

It is a supply and demand issue. While there is a shortage in the supply of corn and soybeans, demand is surging.

Nearly every food on the shelves at the grocery store has a corn or soybean product in the ingredients. Even fuel is competing for corn. And to top it off, the population in countries like China and India are exploding and so is their spending power.

Experts say while prices are expected to rise, in America, we still pay less at the grocery counter than in most other countries.

The cost of fuel is another major component. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2000 the average cost of gas was $1.57 compared with the average cost of $3.01 in 2010. That has a major impact on the production, manufacturing and distribution of food.

 

 


 

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