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OECD Sees Global Food Prices Staying High Until 2020 on Growth

May 17 (Bloomberg) -- Global food prices are likely to stay high until 2020 as the population increases and emerging market economies grow, said Jesus Anton, a senior agricultural policy analyst at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Food prices may stabilize at high levels and keep government import bills near a record, increasing the risk of social unrest in the world’s least developed countries, the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization said earlier this month. Global food costs are about 40 percent above the average in the past 10 years, according to a UN gauge, which tracks 55 commodities.

Prices will stay high as demand from emerging markets grows and as consumers there eat more meat, Anton said in an interview at a Euromoney conference in London today. The increasing use of scarce resources needed for food production, such as land and water, for non-food purposes will also keep prices elevated, he said.

Global food output must rise 70 percent by 2050 to feed a world population expected to grow to 9 billion from 7 billion, according to the FAO.

To contact the reporter on this story: Isis Almeida in London at Ialmeida3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at Ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net.

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