OECD: Meat Prices Expected to Jump 30% in Coming Decade

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SteakFood prices are expected to rise by double digits in the coming decade, with the cost of meat on average potentially climbing as much as 30% worldwide, according to a joint-report released Friday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

That projection comes as consumers are already struggling with record high meat prices, fueled by rising costs for feed and low production of livestock, the report notes. And in the coming years, the OECD says it expects increasingly stringent regulations over food safety, environmental conditions and welfare requirements for livestock will contribute to a bump up prices.

In January 2013, for example, Europe is expected to implement more stringent requirements for housing pigs, which in turn may reduce production of pork because of the added costs, the report notes.

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Meat is not the only food category expected to see double-digit price increases within the coming decade. The price for cereals is expected to rise as much as 20% during this time period.

"While higher prices are generally good news for farmers, the impact on the poor in developing countries who spend a high proportion of their income on food can be devastating," Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary-General, said in a statement.

Both organizations are taking a number of steps to try to reverse the situation, including calling on governments to encourage investments in agriculture that could lead to greater production of food in developing countries.

The anticipated rise in food costs is expected to be driven by an uptick in crude oil prices, which has a rippling effect on such things as the cost for nitrogen fertilizers and other farm chemicals used in the production of food.

Overall, the organizations project that agricultural production will grow more slowly over the next decade, rising only 1.7% compared with a 2.6% increase in the previous decade. The slowdown in production is expected to hit most of the crops, in particular oil seeds and coarse grains, the report notes.
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