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US Research Group: World Food Prices Likely to Rise

A U.S.-based research group says climate change and rising energy costs will likely cause world food prices to rise, threatening the health and livelihoods of the world's poor.

In a report released Tuesday at a conference in Beijing, the International Food Policy Research Institute says environmental and other changes, including urbanization and development, will contribute to higher prices and greater demand for food.

The report says global agricultural production is projected to fall 16 percent by 2020 due to global warming, with output dropping by 20 percent in developing nations. It also notes the increase in bio-fuels will likely cut into food supplies.

The report says Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change because its agricultural system depends heavily on rainfall. It says the number of malnourished people in sub-Saharan Africa may triple between 1990 and 2080, partly because of indirect effects from climate change.

The lead author of the report, Joachim von Braun, said the days of falling food prices may be over. He said the surging demand for feed, fuel and food have recently led to drastic price increases that are unlikely to fall in the foreseeable future.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.