Ten Countries Where It Costs More to Feed a Family

  1. Ten Countries Where It Costs More to Feed a Family
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    Ten Countries Where It Costs More to Feed a Family

    The rise in global food prices, caused by inclement weather in major agricultural regions and higher production costs, has sparked unrest in many countries—especially in such developing nations as Algeria and Tunisia that are more vulnerable to price changes. Yet in some countries, certain staple foods remain level or have even decreased in price from a year ago. In India, for example, the retail price of onions in January had more than doubled in 12 months, but prices of potatoes and wheat were down, according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In Chile, the price of chicken increased, but potatoes became cheaper. "In general, those countries where prices are now lower than a year ago have benefited from good harvests," says Concepción Calpe, a senior economist for the FAO in Rome. Consumers in markets that depend on imported food products—such as rice in Haiti, Chile, and Mozambique—are the most exposed and will eventually feel the effects of the current rise in global food prices, but that impact may not be immediate, Calpe says. High international prices do not always translate into high domestic prices, she adds, due to variations in exchange rates; tariff barriers that limit imports; domestic price policies, such as price subsidies; and transport costs.

    Click to see how the prices of staple foods have changed in several countries around the world over the past year.
  2. Retail Food Prices: Chile
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    Retail Food Prices: Chile

    Consumer food price change*: +5.45% YOY
    Chicken legs**: $5.45/kg (+15.47% YOY)
    Potatoes**: $0.90/kg (-23.73% YOY)

    The Chilean Central Bank estimates that food accounts for 20 percent of household expenses, reported santiagotimes.cl. Government economists expect spending on food to increase at least 5 percent this year.

    * Source: Bloomberg, January 2011. In this slide show, the year-on-year consumer food price changes (CPI for food) come from various sources.
    ** Source for prices on specific items on all slides (unless otherwise noted): Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations January 2011.
  3. Retail Food Prices: China
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    Retail Food Prices: China

    Consumer food price change*: +10.3% YOY
    Potatoes: $0.64/kg (+33.33% YOY)
    Rice: $0.79/kg (+29.51% YOY)
    Wheat flour: $0.59/kg (+18% YOY)
    Pork: $3.44.kg (+19.03% YOY)

    Food prices, up 10.3 percent year-on-year in January, helped drive consumer prices up 4.9 percent from a year earlier, according to government figures. China’s northeast has also experienced severe drought, threatening its wheat crop, although officials claim it will not affect global food prices, reported Bloomberg.

    * Food price change from Bloomberg, January 2011. Item prices from FAO, January 2011.
  4. Retail Food Prices: Haiti
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    Retail Food Prices: Haiti

    Consumer food price change*: +7.8% YOY
    Corn: $1.06/kg** (+15.22% YOY)
    Rice: $1.36/kg** (+8.80% YOY)

    Haiti meets 48 percent of national food requirements through imports, 47 percent through local production, and 5 percent through food assistance, according to the U.N. World Food Programme. Food price increases adversely affect low-income populations such as Haiti’s, which has not recovered from the effects of last year’s earthquake.

    * Food price change for food, beverages, and tobacco from Haitian Institute of Statistics and Informatics, December 2010.
    ** Price for imports only from FAO, January 2011.
  5. Retail Food Prices: India
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    Retail Food Prices: India

    Consumer food price change*: +7.98% YOY
    Onions: $1.07/kg (+109.8% YOY)
    Potatoes: $0.19/kg (-17.39% YOY)
    Rice: $0.50/kg (no change)
    Wheat: $0.32/kg (-3.03% YOY)

    A government-ordered suspension of onion exports in India, reduced import duties on onions, and imports from such markets as Pakistan helped to bring down onion prices significantly after they soared late last year. Onion farmers protested in early February to lift the ban on exports and allow prices to rise.

    * Food price change from Ministry of Labour & Employment, CPI for Industrial Workers, December 2010. Item prices from FAO, January 2011. The wholesale price index for food, the key gauge of inflation in India, was up 13 percent year-on-year in the week ended Jan. 29.
  6. Retail Food Prices: Indonesia
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    Retail Food Prices: Indonesia

    Consumer food price change*: +16.18% YOY
    Rice: $1.01/kg (+24.69% YOY)
    Wheat flour: $0.79/kg (no change)

    Indonesia’s consumer price index rose nearly 7 percent in December, the biggest jump in 20 months, due largely to higher prices for food, the biggest part of the CPI basket. The government has suspended import duties on 57 food items to prevent supply shortages and get prices to cool off, reported Bloomberg.

    * Food price change from Bloomberg, January 2011. Item prices from FAO, January 2011.
  7. Retail Food Prices: Mozambique
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    Retail Food Prices: Mozambique

    Consumer price change*: +16.62% YOY
    Corn: $0.40/kg (+14.29% YOY)
    Rice: $0.91/kg (+13.75% YOY)

    After violent protests broke out in Mozambique last September over the rising costs of water, electricity, and bread, the country once again faces a threat of higher food prices later this year, the government recently warned. About a third of households are food insecure and face perpetual hunger, according to the U.N. World Food Programme.

    * Consumer price change from Bloomberg, December 2010. CPI for food only not available. Item prices from FAO, January 2011.
  8. Retail Food Prices: Nicaragua
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    Retail Food Prices: Nicaragua

    Consumer price change*: +7.26% YOY
    Red beans: $1.50/kg (+61.29% YOY)
    Corn: $0.39/kg (-13.33% YOY)
    Rice: $0.97/kg (-6.73% YOY)

    Nicaragua is the second-poorest nation in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the U.N. World Food Programme. About a third of GDP is derived from agriculture, timber, and fishing. While consumers face higher prices, many of Nicaragua’s export products, especially coffee, have benefited from the recent rise in international commodity prices, according to the U.S. State Dept.

    * Consumer price change from Bloomberg, October 2010. CPI for food only not available. Item prices from FAO, January 2011.
  9. Retail Food Prices: Pakistan
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    Retail Food Prices: Pakistan

    Consumer food price change*: +20.42% YOY
    Rice: $0.55/kg (+7.84% YOY)
    Wheat: $0.31/kg (no change)

    Consumer prices in Pakistan rose 14.2 percent year-on-year in January, according to the country’s statistics bureau. Nonperishable food items rose 17.3 percent and perishable food items 44.4 percent year-on-year. Items with the steepest increases include mung beans, onions, and tomatoes.

    * Food price change from Federal Bureau of Statistics, January 2011. Item prices from FAO, January 2011.
  10. Retail Food Prices: Russia
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    Retail Food Prices: Russia

    Consumer food price change*: +14.2% YOY
    Potatoes: $1.02/kg (+85.45% YOY)
    Rice: $1.55/kg (+6.9% YOY)
    Wheat flour: $0.75/kg (+11.94% YOY)

    Food imports to Russia rose 23 percent, to $3.72 billion, in 2010 as drought reduced Russia’s agricultural production, according to the Federal Customs Service. Prices for fruit and vegetables in Russia were 51 percent higher in January than a year earlier, reported Bloomberg.com.

    * Food price change from Bloomberg, January 2011. Item prices from FAO, January 2011.
  11. Retail Food Prices: U.S.
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    Retail Food Prices: U.S.

    Consumer food price change*: +1.5% YOY
    Potatoes: $0.58/lb* (+3.93% YOY)
    Rice: $0.73/lb* (-3.06% YOY)
    Bread: $1.88/lb* (+7% YOY)

    U.S. food prices were relatively stable compared with other countries. The food index rose 1.5 percent in 2010 following a decline in 2009, according to a release by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs had the largest increase, at 5.5 percent, followed by the dairy index at 3.7 percent. Nonalcoholic beverages and cereals and bakery products were the only indexes to decline.

    * Food price change and item prices from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices are per pound (not per kilogram as in the other slides) in December 2010. The FAO does not collect U.S. price data.