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22 June 2009

International Report Predicts Decade of High Food Prices

from voanews.com by Lisa Bryant

A report released in Paris says international food prices will likely remain high during the next decade, although they will probably not hit the heights that sparked riots last year. Experts also say the prices will have a mixed impact in developing countries.

Jointly published by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, the report predicts crop prices will be 10 to 20 percent higher during the next decade than during the previous 10 years.

"The basic message is that because input prices are higher, because biofuel remains high, this is going to keep real prices for agriculture [higher] than in the early part of the decade," said FAO economist Merrit Cluff.

The report also predicts that energy costs and erratic weather may make prices more volatile in the future. But the report predicts the price hikes are unlikely to be as dramatic as last year, when soaring food prices sparked protests and rioting in developing countries.

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