UN calls meeting on food price concerns

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UN calls meeting on food price concerns
BBC News - UN calls meeting on food price concerns
The summer heatwave destroyed crops in many parts of Russia The United Nations' food agency has called a special meeting of policy makers to discuss the recent rise in global food prices.

The announcement came after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin extended the country's ban on grain exports on Thursday.

This added to fears that prices of food staples would continue to rise.

The meeting will take place on 24 September, probably in Rome, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said.

"In the past few weeks, global cereal markets experienced a sudden surge in international wheat prices on concerns over wheat shortages," the agency said.

"The purpose of holding the meeting is for exporting and importing countries to engage in constructive discussions on appropriate reactions to the current market situation."

Mr Putin did not say when exactly the Russian grain export ban, originally to run from 15 August to 31 December, would be lifted, but said that it would not be before next year's harvest had been reaped.

Russia is one of the world's biggest producers of wheat, barley and rye and was hit hard by a drought this summer.

The heatwave destroyed crops in many parts of the country, pushing food prices up.

This year's crop could be as low as 60 million tonnes, but Russia needs almost 80 million just to cover domestic consumption, analysts say.

Other key grain producers have also reported shortages, causing the price of wheat to rise more than 50% since the beginning of July.
 
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