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Originally published September 3 2008

Climate Change Causes Global Wheat Shortage, Food Price Hikes

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Droughts caused by global climate change have led to a drop in wheat production, a worldwide shortage and high food prices around the world.

The global wheat supply is at its lowest point in 50 years, with only an estimated 10 weeks of supply left. This has been one factor pushing the prices of bread, beer and other wheat-containing foods steadily higher. According to Hilton Dinner, a bakery owner from Edmonton, Canada, the price of flour has more than doubled over the past eight months.

In 19 years of business, Dinner said, he has never seen prices rise like this.

"Prices creep up seasonably," he said. "They might go up 10 percent, then down 5 percent. They never go back to where they started, but they creep. This is not creeping, this is drastic."

Also to blame for the global wheat shortage is rising population, coupled with increasing meat consumption worldwide. This has led to the increasing diversion of grain to animal feed.

Analysts anticipate that the shortage may be resolved within 12 months, as farmers pull fallow land into wheat production. But even when the shortage resolves, food prices are only expected to keep climbing due to other factors, such as high energy and shipping costs.

"It's not something that's going to go away," Dinner said. "Food in general is going to go up. As wheat goes up, so does the price of eggs and chicken because they eat grain-based feed. It affects people who can't afford to pay more for their food."

Public health experts have expressed concern about the effect that rising food prices have on the poor. The United Nations recently reported that in 2007, the cost of food imports in the world's neediest countries increased 24 percent, to a total of $107 billion.

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