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UN's FAO Economist believes Panic Buying and Lockdowns may drive Global Food Inflation

  • A senior economist at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Abdolreza Abbassian, has said over a telephonic interview from the FAO headquarters in Rome that a global food supply crisis may erupt if the bulk buyers and big importers such as governments and millers start panic buying. Abdolreza has pointed out that consumers across the globe (right from Singapore to the US) in the recent weeks have started to queue in the supermarkets to stock up wide-ranging of essential items such as rice, hand sanitizers, toilet paper, and many more. With the panic buying of pasta and flour along with an increase in wheat exports, the grain industry in France is finding it tough to find enough staff as well as trucks to run the factories and ports. Food supply is also being disrupted due to the closing of borders by the European Union countries. This week, the global benchmark Chicago wheat future has increased by more than 6%, which is the largest weekly gain in the 9-months period. The rice prices in Thailand (the second largest grain exporter in the world) have increased to the highest since August 2013. FAO’s senior economist has also said: “All you need is panic buying from big importers such as millers or governments to create a crisis… What if bulk buyers think they can’t get wheat or rice shipments in May or June? That is what could lead to a global food supply crisis.”