Floods, Drought Drive World Food Prices to Record Highs

By By Vickie Frantz Accuweather.com Staff Writer
January 07, 2011, 4:26:25 AM EST

World food prices hit a record high in December, according to Commodities Daily.

2010 brought droughts to some agricultural areas of the world, and floods to others.

China and North Korean Floods

In southeastern China, the city of Pucheng had 25.61 inches of rain in June, according to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews. Normal for the area in June is 11 inches.

Near the border of North Korea, the city of Kuandian, China had 34.57 inches of rain in August.

The heavy rain has impacted agricultural areas of both China and North Korea.

The New York Times reported that North Korea will have a 3 percent increase of their staple food production; however, the country will still have a shortage of close to half a million tons of food.

China is having a shortage of food due to much of their crops being destroyed by the floods this summer, according to the International Business Times.

Ukrainian and Russian Drought

High temperatures and dry conditions have brought drought to both countries.

Moscow, Russia reported temperatures that averaged more than 11 F above normal in July, with below-average rainfall.

The dry conditions continued, and in late July, a wildfire was sparked. The drought and wildfire combined to cause a loss of one-third of the normal grain harvest. Quotas limiting the export of wheat were put in place, and will continue at least until July 2011, according to Agrimarket.info.

After suffering the summer drought, the Ukraine also set export quotas for wheat. Their harvest of wheat in 2009 was 46 million tonnes. The wheat harvest of 2010 was down by 7 million tonnes to only 39 million, according to the BBC.

Australian Floods

The month of December brought flooding rain to Australia.

"Rainfall at no fewer than three Queensland cities, Rockhampton, Brisbane and Mackay, was at least 30 inches," said Andrews.

The floods have hurt crops of wheat and sugar in Queensland. Up to a half of Australia's wheat harvest could be downgraded to animal feed, according to Reuters.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reported that the food price index is at its highest since the first calculations in 1990.

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