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Corn prices could double by 2050

12/09/2010 @ 7:56am

LONDON (Dow Jones)--World grain prices could as much as double by 2050 as population growth and climate change put growing pressure on resources, according to a report published Monday.

Corn prices could rise 100.7% while the cost of rice could increase 31.2% as production struggles to keep pace with the world's rapidly-expanding population in the face of rising temperatures, research from the International Food Policy Research Institute found.

While global food prices have fallen in the past century, the report said it expects this trend to reverse. "Increasing demand driven by population and income growth is greater than productivity growth, which is hampered by the negative productivity effects of climate change," it said.

Released today as part of a food security conference here, the report argues that boosting investment in agriculture by at least $7 billion and strengthening world trade flows will be vital to ensuring food security in the future.

Based on estimates that corn yields can increase by 2% annually up to 2050 in the countries that produce 80% of the world's output now, IFPRI said price increases could be limited to 12%, rather than more than 100%. This would decrease the number of malnourished children in the world by 3.2%.

With the same scenario in wheat, 2.2% fewer children in developing countries would be malnourished in the same period, the report found.

Because of the dramatic variation in the effects of climate change, strengthening world trade flows will also be vital to mitigating losses in productivity in some parts of the world. "Trade flows can partially offset the effects of climate change on local productivity, allowing regions of the world with fewer negative effects to supply those with more negative effects," the report said.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 06, 2010 06:29 ET (11:29 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones Company, Inc.

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