As the drought in the US Midwest continues, stakeholders need access to up-to-the-minute information regarding weather patterns, crop conditions, and markets and prices. The USDA has released a comprehensive set of resources called Disaster and Drought Assistance to help stakeholders stay connected and informed about changing conditions.
FEWS NET has released its latest Monthly Price Watch, citing continuing rising prices for many staple commodities. US maize prices rose by 20% in July due to the ongoing drought in the Midwest; drop losses in both the US and South America have contributed to increased prices for soybeans and soybean oil as well. International wheat prices also increased in June and July due to expected shortfalls in the European Union, Russia, and Kazakhstan.
According to a new update released by GIEWS, the export prices of some major grains have jumped in the past month. Compared to June levels, the export price of maize increased by 20 percent in the first three weeks of July; the benchmark US yellow maize reached a record high of USD 322 per tonne.
The international price of wheat has also risen sharply in July, increasing by 21 percent in the first three weeks. Despite this drastic increase, wheat prices still remain far below the record high seen in March 2008.
Food security has been a constant topic in the media in recent weeks as commodity prices continue to climb following the drought in the Midwestern US. While the causes of this most recent commodity price spike seem clear - negative weather in the US and South America impacting crop yields, as well as decreased export sales from some of the world's largest exporters - a new tool provides insight into another potential factor in food price spikes and price volatility: the media itself.
Global maize markets are currently experiencing a period of excessive price volatility. This is the first such period since June 2011 and can be largely attributed to conditions in the Midwest United States, which is experiencing the worst drought in 56 years. The United States is the world's largest maize exporter.
The latest USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates has been released, citing sharply lowered US production and supply estimates for both corn and soybeans. The reduction in US supplies is expected to impact global supplies and trade as well.
Global soybean production is projected at 267.2 million tons, a decrease of 3.9 million tons that can be attributed largely to lower production in the United States. US soybean exports for 2012/13 have been reduced 115 million bushels to 1.37 billion.
Global soybean prices hit an all-time high on Monday in the wake of continuing hot, dry weather across the US Midwest. In addition to pushing prices higher, the drought and subsequent declining soybean stocks and lower expected exports are also causing a period of excessive price volatility in the commodity. It is the first time such a period has been seen for soybeans since December 2010.
Global maize and soybean prices have skyrocketed in recent weeks and experts fear that price increases will be unabated as dry weather in the US Midwest continues for at least another week.
FEWS NET has released its Food Price Watch for June, citing steadily increasing staple food prices in East Africa. Rising prices in the region are being caused by a combination of dwindling supplies from previous harvests and market interruptions due to conflict; many areas of the region were already seeing alarmingly high food prices.
The Rio+20 Conference last week witnessed the launch of the "Zero Hunger Challenge," an initiative calling for resilient global food systems and adequate nutrition for every individual. The Challenge encompasses five goals:
- Achieving 100 percent access to adequate nutrition for every individual year-round.
- Ending malnutrition during pregnancy and early childhood.
- Making all food systems sustainable.
- Increasing the productivity and income growth of smallholder farmers, particularly women.
- Achieving zero percent food waste.