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.

Photo Credit: Flickr: Adam Cohn

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.

Photo Credit: Flickr: John Donaghy

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.

Last year witnessed the culmination of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the launch of a new global development agenda – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

March 22 is World Water Day, which focuses this year on the link between water and jobs. As the latest IFPRI blog points out, this link is particularly important for women in rural areas. The majority of women in developing countries engage in agricultural work, whether that is production of food for sale in the market or more production of food for their own households in kitchen gardens.

By: Joseph Glauber, IFPRI
A strong El Niño continued through December, as indicated by above-average sea surface temperatures (SST) across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. The strength and duration of the current El Niño event has raised concerns about global crop prospects and food prices.

The current El Niño cycle, one of the top three strongest on record since the phenomenon started being tracked in 1950, is expected to continue through the winter in the Northern Hemisphere, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

On December 12, nearly 200 countries signed the landmark COP21 Paris agreement into effect. The agreement’s major achievement is a commitment to keep global temperature increases "well below" 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to further limit increases to 1.5C by 2100.

Corn farming in Brazil. Photo Credit: Owen Cortner

The FAO Monthly News Report on Grains (MNR) provides a collection of news articles on issues or factors considered critical in shaping the regional/global grains economy, as well as links to reports, statistics, and upcoming events. The latest MNR highlights how low grain prices and high stockpiles are catalyzing changes in subsidy and export policies and influencing crop choices among farmers for the 2016 growing season and beyond.

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