According to the recent Consumer Price Index report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices have risen 10.9% from October 2021 to October 2022 in the U.S. alone. It’s a global issue. Some countries have even seen record numbers of food inflations costs like Argentina with 91 percent, Turkey with an astonishing 103 percent and Ghana with 48 percent. The farming, production, processing, and retail of food supplies everywhere have been disturbed.
Several factors contribute to rising food costs:
- Changes in demand
- Increase in transportation and energy costs
- Climate and weather challenges
- International conflicts
- Disease outbreaks
- Supply chain disruptions
Right now, the world is facing many of these factors, including war, natural disasters, and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, food prices around the world have skyrocketed.
4 Major Sources of Rising Food Costs
There are several identifiable reasons food costs have risen and continue to rise worldwide.
Aftershocks of the Pandemic
The pandemic caused disruptions in the food supply chain: outbreaks in processing centers, facility closures, and mandated lockdowns put a strain on food production at large. Access to livestock feed also diminished and the ongoing labor shortage throughout meat and dairy farms led to a decrease in these household staples.
Wars and Conflicts
In 2022, the War in Ukraine impacted the prices of wheat and other essential commodities. Western sanctions placed on Russia have led to not only higher oil and transport costs, but a further shortage of fertilizers that farmers need.
Supply Chain and Transportation
Food transportation across industries such as meat, produce, dairy, and coffee has left not only consumers to deal with unfavorable prices but farmers and processing companies as well.
With challenges in transportation and supply, more food is going to waste before it’s able to reach store shelves. Higher rates of food waste contribute to rising costs, as certain items become rarer and, therefore, more costly to sell.
Climate change is a final leading factor contributing to the rise in food costs. Although this may be invisible to buyers, resource depletion is a serious concern. Recent natural disasters such as the floods in Pakistan and one of the worst European droughts in 500 years significantly limited the production of commercial crops, including rice, sugarcane, grain, and soy.
Impacts of Food Scarcity on Daily Life
Rising food costs have resulted in food scarcity for families across occupational and class lines.
More than 800 million people end each day hungry.
Household hunger and malnutrition take hold in developing countries, impacting economic and social development.
Farmers’ incomes become threatened as there are fewer buyers purchasing goods directly from crop growers. Smallholder farms are further impacted around the global supply chain, as loyal traders search elsewhere for cheaper alternatives.
Shoppers are now faced with the difficult decision to change their food-buying habits.
A family of four who might have sustained themselves on fresh organic produce, fair-trade spices, and local dairy now may have to choose to buy conventional in order to maintain their grocery budget.
Lower-income families that may have opted for fresh produce a couple of days a week may now feel pressured to purchase more affordable but less nutritious alternatives such as canned vegetables or instant meals.
For those without a secure income, skipping meals and going hungry may seem like the only choice.
Farming Solutions that Address the Food Supply Chain
In an attempt to relieve global trade pressures, several governments in developed countries have put measures in place to increase domestic food production. Export bans, price controls, and food taxes also present difficult considerations in the market.
In response to rising food prices, investing in agriculture — both locally and abroad — is crucial.
Without productive farmers, a society risks major food insecurity, no matter what its current geopolitical or economic standing is.
Data-driven trade improvements are another way to alleviate high costs. Moreover, to improve trade, agricultural productivity must be met with timely research, farming development, and rural infrastructure.
Reducing global dependence on fertilizers and pesticides is another solution that will help bring food prices down while ensuring greater food security.
With specialty agricultural technologies (AgTech), fertilizer and pesticide applications can be closely monitored and controlled, making sure exact amounts of spray are properly applied to precise areas of a crop.
How Dimitra is Addressing Rising Food Costs
At Dimitra Technology, we already help farmers and exporters practice responsible and sustainable, data-driven farming.
With our tech-based platform, farmers around the world can increase crop yields, reduce operational costs, and mitigate risk from season to season. All of this is achievable even during a time of record-breaking food prices and environmental challenges.
We are committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of advancing toward zero world hunger.
Dimitra and our team of global agricultural experts combine science and technology to support farmers everywhere.
From strategies that reduce food waste to software that maps sustainable food production, the Connected Farmer platform which has advanced Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities equips farmers with the tools they need to succeed beyond spikes in the food market.
To learn more about our agricultural solutions that help relieve food insecurity, visit www.dimitra.io.