Rising export commodity prices can mitigate the impact of higher prices for food imports

A line chart showing export commodity prices of selected categories, years 2000 to 2010.

In addition to food prices, the global food security situation is also dependent on the prices of fuel and export commodities. High fuel prices can amplify the rise in food prices by reducing further the amount of income poor households have to spend on food. These financial pressures can be mitigated, however, by commensurate increases in prices of exports. Data through 2010 indicate that this has been the case for several commodities. While the International Monetary Fund food price index increased 11.5 percent from 2009 to 2010, the index increased at a faster rate for beverages, over 14 percent; agricultural raw materials (i.e., timber, cotton, wool, rubber, hides), nearly 34 percent; and metals, 40 percent. Countries such as Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Vietnam are major exporters of coffee, tea, and/or cocoa. Mozambique, Tajikistan, and Ghana export aluminum, while Zambia, Peru, and Indonesia export copper. This chart is from the ERS report, International Food Security Assessment, 2010 Update: Improved Production Mitigated Impact of Higher Food Commodity Prices, GFA-21-01, May 2011.

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