High food prices here to stay: OECD, FAO

June 01, 2008 (AFP) – High global food prices are a new fact of life, a major report warned as 22 countries, mostly in Africa, were listed as being at severe risk from record food and fuel costs. At the same time, there were calls for an end to restrictions on the export of food, with open trade said to be vital in any solution to the record prices which have sparked protests in many countries.

The cost of feeding the family will remain far higher than in the past decade, even though prices should ease in coming years, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said in a report on the global agriculture outlook for the next 10 years.

The study was published against a background of protests in countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean in response to soaring food prices.

The jump in prices has added to the number of people in extreme hunger and some humanitarian aid is “urgently required,” said the OECD and FAO joint report.

“Current high prices will hit the poor and hungry people hardest,” it said.

OECD chief economist Angel Gurria added: “The way to address rising food prices is not through protectionism but to