The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released a new report suggesting that global food prices should continue to rise in coming years.
The FAO put together the report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011, in concert with the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme. The report details a variety of factors that are driving prices, including growing global populations, increasing environmental stresses and rising demand for biofuels.
Agricultural commodities have seen recent spikes, with crops like corn and wheat reaching record prices in 2008 and corn eventually topping that number in early 2011.
However, between those periods, prices plummeted back down more than 50 percent and the recent spike has seen a comparable drop in the following months. The FAO report notes that the inconsistency of many of the specific factors pushing food prices higher and the nature of the agricultural sector in general make for an inherently unstable and volatile market.
"Price volatility is here to stay," the report insisted, according to The Financial Times. "Small, import-dependent countries, particularly in Africa, are especially at risk."