By David Lewis
The worst US drought in over fifty years has caused a fall in crop harvests and a rise in food prices, raising food security concerns for developing countries. The US Department of Agriculture has reported that nearly 62 percent of the US is experiencing drought conditions, with 85 percent of the corn crop falling within this area. As the largest exporter of agro-commodities, a shortfall in the US harvest will likely force food retailers around the world to increase prices for consumers.
Corn and soybean crops, both of which are important components of livestock feed, have been particularly hard hit. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that corn prices have risen 23 percent in July 2012 alone, largely as a result of depressed US crop yields. Moreover, the shortfall has prompted calls for a temporary suspension of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which diverts approximately 40 percent of the US corn crop for use as ethanol biofuel. (more…)