People wearing masks visit a market amid the coronavirus outbreak March 8, 2020 in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China.
Liu Ranyang | China News Service | Getty Images
Food prices rise during the coronavirus pandemic, affecting food security.
Last Thursday, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations reported that global food prices rose for the third straight month in August, reaching their highest level since February.
The FAO food price index shows the international prices of the most frequently traded foods.
The rise in food prices was due to firmer demand and a weaker dollar, the FAO said. Since commodities, including food commodities, are typically denominated in the greenback, a weaker dollar supports prices.
On Wednesday, the Chinese Bureau of Statistics said the country's food prices rose 11.2% year over year in August, driven by high pork prices attributable to the African swine fever outbreak that decimated China's swine herds. In August, pork prices rose 52.6% year over year.
The hot and rainy weather in the country has also hit prices. Vegetable prices rose 6.4% from July. Egg prices rose 11.3% over the same period as seasonal demand outpaced low inventory levels.
Experts have said that while there is no urgent food shortage, farms have been in disarray as the coronavirus pandemic has turned supply chains upside down and slowed movement.
"As the coronavirus crisis spreads, disruptions in the domestic food supply chain, other shocks affecting food production, and loss of income and remittances in many countries are creating severe tensions and food security risks in many countries," the World Bank said last Monday .
While global food prices are generally stable, many countries are experiencing mixed food price inflation due to measures taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
In July, a survey by the agricultural company Olam found that more than half of the 2,400 smallholders who grow cocoa, coffee, sesame, cotton and other crops in Africa and Indonesia are suffering from staple and food shortages due to restricted mobility and food price increases insufficient stocks at home.
Of the farmers surveyed, 70% said their ability to afford food was impaired because they had less than usual incomes in the past four months.
At its post, the World Bank warned that supplies would be disrupted if farmers continued to have limited access to food.
“Food producers are also experiencing large losses in perishable and nutritious foods as buyers are limited and consumption patterns change. While food insecurity is largely not due to food shortages, supplies of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, seeds or labor shortages are increasing disturbed could reduce the harvest next season, "it said.
"When farmers are suffering from acute hunger, they can prioritize buying food today over planting seeds for tomorrow, which increases the risk of food shortages later," the facility added.