Big Facts on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security

Food Prices

  • Food expenditures account for 20–50% or more of household budgets in many low- and middle income countries (OECD-FAO 2013 p. 19).
  • Price fluctuations are a common feature of well-functioning agricultural product markets. But when these become large and unexpected—volatile—they can reduce the food security of consumers, farmers and entire countries.
  • Since 2007, world markets have seen a series of dramatic swings in commodity prices. Food prices reached their highest levels for 30 years during the summer of 2008, collapsed the following winter, and rose rapidly again in the months that followed. Food prices today remain high, and are expected to remain volatile (FAO 2013a).
  • The link between commodity prices and what consumers actually pay for their food is usually not straightforward. So, even though commodity prices remain high, there is some evidence that consumer food price inflation is abating. Nevertheless, with food expenditures accounting for such a high proportion of household budgets in many low- and middle-income countries, food affordability remains a concern (OECD–FAO 2013 p. 19).
Sources and further reading