UN calls for emergency meeting on rising food prices

Russia, one of the world’s largest producers of wheat and barley, banned wheat exports after a severe drought destroyed much of the season’s crop this summer. In response to the food shortage, President Putin banned export of food grains till at least the next harvest – which would be in mid-2011, leading to food prices shooting up across the world.

The FAO cut 2010 world cereal production outlook to 2,238 million tons from 2,280 million tons, mostly due to lower wheat production, but the production levels are still the third highest on record.

At current forecast levels, world cereal utilization would slightly exceed production in 2010-11, the FAO said in a report.  Wheat production in 2010 is expected to be about 646 million tonnes.

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