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OECD Sees Global Food Prices Staying High Until 2020 on Growth

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.

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