Mumbai / New Delhi: A worldwide food crisis that sent wheat, corn and rice prices to records and sparked riots earlier this year may be over after farmers increased plantings, a top official at the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution said.
“I don’t think there’s a crisis now,” said T. Nanda Kumar, food secretary, who is responsible for formulating food security policy in the world’s second most populous nation. “Food will be available.”
Farmers from Australia to China have increased plantings of wheat, corn, rice and soya bean, helping stockpiles gain from 30-year lows. An end to the crisis may help countries including India and Egypt ease trade barriers and cool inflation.
The global production outlook for wheat and soya bean is “very good,” while rice is still expensive, Kumar said on 18 August. “Rice is softening, but I don’t think it has softened adequately.”
Still, grain prices will remain higher than the average of the past five years even as production improves, he said. ...