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The FAO is predicting 2016 global cereal production to be nearly 2,526 million tonnes, up slightly from production forecasts in April. This slight revision comes mainly from increased wheat production forecasts, which rose 4 million tonnes in May. Much of this increased production is based on improved yield prospects in Europe, which are expected to outweigh the effects of poor weather conditions in India. Growth in anticipated global wheat production remains 16 million tonnes below the record production seen in 2015, however.

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The world’s urban population is growing rapidly. According to a new publication from The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, more people live in urban areas than rural areas today, and by 2060, 66 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. This growth is particularly obvious in developing regions.

International wheat price trends were mixed in April but were still lower than wheat prices seen a year ago, according to the latest Food Price Monitoring and Analysis Bulletin released this week. The price of US hard red winter wheat fell three percent in April as a result of improved production prospects in several key producing areas. Global maize prices were up from March due to increased export demand and concerns about production in South America; however, April maize prices also remained lower than the previous year's levels.

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In the latest Monthly Price Watch, released by FEWS Net on April 29, international prices of maize, wheat, rice, and soybeans were reported stable in March, and below their respective 2015 levels. The report also sees well supplied international markets for these staple foods.

The latest FAO Food Price Index, released this week, rose 1.1 points from March. This is the third consecutive month that the Index has risen, but levels remain almost 10 percent below those seen in April 2015. This latest increase was driven mainly by increased vegetable oil quotations, combined with smaller gains in cereal prices.

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As the global food system becomes more integrated, urban populations grow, and incomes continue to rise around the world, the issue of food safety is drawing greater and greater attention, according to a new brief from the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.

Food price volatility and extreme price shocks have serious implications for politics, agriculture, climate, and food and nutrition security, according to a new book published by the Center for Development Research (ZEF) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM).

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The current El Niño cycle is being called the one of the strongest on record, and it is already having serious impacts on local food production in many developing countries around the world. Production shortfalls, and subsequent food price hikes, will be particularly harmful for the world’s poorest consumers, who research shows spend 50-70 percent of their incomes on food.

Agriculture, food prices, and food and nutrition security have long played an important role in the G7 and G20 meetings. The following links provide a timeline of some of the most important agriculture- and food-related decisions to come out of these meetings since 2011.

G7 Leaders's Declaration on Food Security

Paris G20 Action Plan on Food Price Volatility and Agriculture

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The global food system puts significant pressure on the world’s natural resources and is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, a large amount of the food produced by this system is either lost or wasted each year, lowering overall productivity and hurting both producers and consumers. According to a recent blog by IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan, as much as one billion tons of food never reaches consumers.