Food price crisis feared as erratic weather wreaks havoc on crops

Ruth Kelly, Oxfam's food policy adviser says people in the Western world spend around 15% of their income on food, but that rises to around 75% in developing countries, so any change in food prices has a dramatic impact on household budgets.

Economists fear food price inflation will exacerbate the global economic crisis, as it limits the ability of emerging markets to provide any kind of stimulus to drive a recovery. Karen Ward, senior economist at HSBC, said: "What the world economy really needs right now is a break. Any inflationary pressure, particularly that stops the emerging world loosening policy and providing the boost to the global economy, would be a problem."

Freak weather in some of the world's vital food producing regions is ravaging crops and threatening another global food crisis like the price shocks that unleashed social and political unrest in 2008 and 2010.

As the US suffers the worst drought in more than 50 years, analysts are warning that rising food prices could hit the world's poorest countries, leading to shortages and social upheaval.

In America's agricultural heartland, searing heat and sparse rainfall have left farmers helpless as their corn and soy bean crops wither in dry fields. Earlier this month, the US department of agriculture (USDA) slashed forecasts for the corn crop by 12%.  In Europe and Russia rain has ravaged and severe floods followed, British weather has once again broken records.  In our local area of Hereford we have already received all of this years average rainfall.

As we cut hay this morning we find parts of the meadows still standing in a foot of water !