Restricted credit and access to foreign exchange may lead farmers to cut production, worsening agricultural price pressures. From the Financial Times:
The world might face a repeat of this year’s food crisis as the credit crunch encroaches on the agricultural market, leading farmers to cut their planting because of falling prices and lack of finance to buy fertilisers, the United Nations warned on Thursday.
“Riots and instability could again capture the headlines,” the Food and Agriculture Organisation said.
The warning was made despite a fall in the price of most agricultural commodities as farmers harvest bumper crops…
“Under the current gloomy prospects for agricultural prices, high input costs and more difficult access to credit, farmers may cut their plantings, which might again result in a tightening of world food supplies,” the FAO said in the report….
Concepción Calpe, a senior economist at the FAO in Rome, said a price surge might take place in the 2009-10 harvesting season, “unleashing even more severe food crises than those experienced recently”.
Lower production and higher prices next year could add to developing countries’ problems in obtaining sufficient credit and foreign exchange to buy agricultural commodities. “Export finance is becoming more difficult to obtain, with banks tightening up the conditions for issuance of letters of credit,” the FAO said.
Thailand and Iran agreed last month to barter rice for oil, the clearest example yet of how the financial crisis, high fuel price and scarcity of food are reshaping global trade.
In spite of the continuing fall in food prices, the world’s food imports’ bill is set to surge above $1,000bn (€785bn, £633bn) for the first time ever, up 23 per cent from last year and 64 per cent higher than in 2006, the FAO said.
Developing countries will spend $343bn this year on food imports, up a record 35 per cent from last year’s $254bn. Some poor countries, the organisation said, were curtailing food imports in an effort to lower their bills.