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Agriculture & Softs Reports

Diets must become sustainable say FAO and Bioversity

Rome, 8 August 2012

Immediate action to promote sustainable diets and food biodiversity so as to improve the health of humans and of the planet is urged in a book just published by FAO and Bioversity International

“Regardless of the many successes of agriculture in the last three decades, it is clear that food systems, and diets, are not sustainable,” says Barbara Burlingame, Principal Officer of FAO’s Nutrition and Consumer Protection Division, in a preface to the book, Sustainable Diets and Biodiversity.

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The Facts Behind Food Prices

New York, 2 August 2012

One of the worst U.S. droughts in 50 years is striking the Midwest, withering crops and sending corn and soybean prices to all-time record highs, and the extreme weather could last through harvest. According to the USDA, consumers can expect to pay up to 4 percent more for groceries next year as a result. Clearly weather is impactful, however it’s only one of the factors that affect the price of our food.

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Sugar Review: Better Cane but short term pain


London, 16 July 2012

The Czarnikow Sugar Review: Brazil’s cane sugar crop has been underway for two months. However, the crush is around 50 million tonnes of cane behind last year, following wet weather and planned delays to the crushing season. Brazil is now the key market dynamic. Sugar prices have rebounded as weather has re-emerged as a potential risk.

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Six reasons not to panic about US grain prices

London, 13 July 2012

Fears of the “worst drought in the US in 25 years” have led to a spike in US grain prices and understandably added to concerns about another global food inflation shock. However, there are at least six reasons why these concerns are overdone. To recap,  this week the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its monthly “World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates”. These have generated plenty of headlines. In particular, the USDA cut its projection for the US autumn corn harvest to 12.9 billion bushels, from 14.8 billion bushels last month, citing the impact of “persistent and extreme” dryness and heat in key US producing states over the past six weeks. The forecast for the soybean harvest has been trimmed from 3.20 billion to 3.05 billion bushels, and for wheat from 2.23 billion to 2.22 billion bushels.

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State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report

Rome, 9 July 2012

Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture play a crucial role in food and nutrition security and in providing for the livelihoods of millions of people. FAO's latest flagship publication on the state of fisheries and aquaculture, launched at the opening of the 30th session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, highlights the sector's vital contribution to the world's well-being and prosperity, a point reflected in the recent Rio+20 Outcome Document.

Read more: State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report

Experts eye food price speculation

Rome, July 2012

The world needs to take a hard look at speculation on the financial markets and its potential impact on food price volatility, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said at a high-level debate on the issue at FAO Headquarters in Rome. "While there has been much analysis of food price volatility, including at FAO, more understanding is still needed, especially concerning the impacts of speculation," Graziano da Silva said as he opened the event.

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Czarnikow Sugar Review, May 2012

London, 22 June 2012

High cane and beet prices will drive a 2.4m mtrv (metric tonne raw value) rise in production during the 2012/2013 season. Czarnikow are projecting a surplus of around 8.4m mtrv, slightly above our estimate of the 2011/2012 season surplus of 7.8m mtrv, which indicates global stocks could double by the end of the next season.  Czarnikow project cane production to rise to a record 144.1m mtrv from 139.2m mtrv last year, but beet production will fall to 36.9m mtrv, down 2.4m mtrv from last year’s record.  This places total global availability at 181.0m mtrv , up from 178.5m mtrv in 2011/2012, and so outstripping demand growth of 1.9m tonnes to 172.1m mtrv in 2013.

Read more: Czarnikow Sugar Review, May 2012

Proposals ‘inadequate’ to combat food price hikes

London, 20 June 2012

European proposals for the regulation of the commodity markets are inadequate to prevent excessive speculation from contributing to food price spikes, according to a new report released today. Proposals discussed yesterday by the European parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) committee rely on a system of ‘position management’ or ‘position checks’ to prevent market manipulation and excessive speculation from distorting commodity prices. But the report, from the World Development Movement, argues that the proposals are doomed to failure and that a system of position limits is essential.

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Rio+20: Improving energy use key challenge for food

Rome, 14 June 2012

Agriculture’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels is undermining the sector’s ability to feed the world, perpetuating poverty and undermining efforts to build a more sustainable world economy, FAO said today. The warning came as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization released a study on “energy-smart” food production and use ahead of the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, where global energy challenges will figure high on the agenda.

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World food stocks to rise: FAO


Rome, 13 June 2012

FAO's quarterly forecast of agricultural production and food security gives an overall positive outlook for cereal production worldwide, but warns that several regions of the world are expected to struggle with the consequences of poor rainfall, severe weather, armed conflict and displacement.
The Crop Prospects and Food Situation report forecasts a record increase of 3.2 percent in world cereal production in 2012, totalling an estimated 2 419 million tonnes, mainly on the strength of a bumper maize crop in the United States. Wheat and coarse grains prices eased in May, mostly during the second half, driven by good supply prospects.

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