Farmers Face Problems Despite Higher Food Prices

Farmers around the world would seem to benefit from rising food prices. But as VOA's Brian Padden reports, rising costs, limited natural resources and government restrictions prevent many farmers from getting rich.

For Texas rice farmer Ray Stoesser, rising food prices are tempered by the increased costs of fuel, transportation and other supplies.  He says, "Fertilizer went up $80 a ton last week.  It seems like when we need it, everything goes up."

In Thailand, farmer Khun Ton expects to have a good year but he says he must limit the amount of land he uses to cultivate rice. "I have more land on the other side of the road,” Ton said. “But I can't farm it because there is no water."

In Ukraine, Mykola Borshchenko, says the government limits his ability to maximize food production and profit.  "We were forced to sell at lower prices at a time when prices for energy and fertilizer where rising," Borshchenko said.

The World Bank estimates that global food prices have risen 83 percent over the last three years and demand for food will rise 50 percent by 2030. The growing demand for bio- fuels adds to the costs.

Despite the problems that farmers face, Chicago grain trader and analyst Vic Lespinasse says on a global scale, market forces will ultimately prevail. 

"I think the consensus is that prices are going to remain elevated for a long time to come, but farmers this year are going to do what they do every time prices are high and that is they are going to produce more grain and we are going to see a worldwide increase." That is, he says, as long as the weather cooperates. 


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