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Publication | 26 July 2021

Food Security and COVID-19

Global Food and Nutrition Security

The Agricultural Commodity Price Index remained near its highest level since 2013, and as of July 16, 2021, was approximately 30% higher than in January 2020. Maize, wheat and rice prices are about 43%, 12% and 10% above their January 2020 levels. Surging prices reflect strong demand, along with weather uncertainties, macroeconomic conditions, and COVID-19-related supply disruptions, even though the global production outlook for major grains remains good.

The primary risks to food security are at the country level: Higher retail prices, combined with reduced incomes, mean more and more households are having to cut down on the quantity and quality of their food consumption. 

Numerous countries are experiencing high food price inflation at the retail level, reflecting lingering supply disruptions due to COVID-19 social distancing measures, currency devaluations, and other factors. Rising food prices have a greater impact on people in low- and middle-income countries since they spend a larger share of their income on food than people in high-income countries.