Food Prices and Security Hit by ‘Heatflation’ as Summer Heat Wave Ravages Crops Worldwide

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Record-breaking heat waves across the globe are destroying crops, pushing up food prices and putting the food systems of many nations at risk.

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In Europe, water and heat stress has pushed down crop yields, and in June, the already negative forecast released by the Publications Office of the EU was slightly reduced for the third consecutive month, reported Food Ingredients First. Increases in grain prices are largely attributed to trade disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine war. Fertilizer shortages and weak harvests have contributed to rising prices, as well.

“Just three crops — wheat, maize and rice — make up nearly half of the world’s food supply. All are vulnerable to extreme weather conditions like drought and heat. Without some help, many of our most beloved foods will not be able to withstand climate change, which is already leading to crop failures, rising food prices and surges in hunger and malnutrition worldwide,” said Stefan Schmitz, executive director of Crop Trust.

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The June consumer price indexes (CPI) in the U.S. increased 9.1% over the last 12 months, with food being among the top contributors to inflation. The food index increased 1% percent in June following a 1.2% increase in May. Inflation has been climbing at its highest rate in 40 years, and lower crop yields caused by summer heat waves can have a big impact on your grocery bill.

According to a report by researchers at the European Central Bank last year, unusual temperatures can drive inflation. After looking at seasonal temperatures and price indicators in 48 countries, researchers found that hot summers had “by far the largest and longest-lasting impact” on food prices, reported Grist.

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“We all know our grocery bills are going up,” Bob Keefe, the author of the book Climatenomics, explained to Grist. “Part of the reason is that when you lose crops to storms or drought or flooding, prices are going to go up.”

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.

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