UC expert says research dearth boosting food prices

Jul 21, 2008

Director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, Dan Sumner, indicated that declining agricultural research is contributing to a hike in global food prices, according to an article in today's San Francisco Chronicle.

There has been a decline in investments in agricultural research and development at the federal and state levels and worldwide, with more resources diverted to improving efficiency, the story paraphrased Sumner.

"It's a long-running phenomenon I think we ought to pay a lot more attention to," he was quoted.

The Chronicle story, by George Raine, also attributed the spike in food prices to:

  • Increasing demand in China, India and other developing countries
  • A prolonged drought in Australia
  • A cap on rice exports from Thailand, Vietnam and India
  • Biofuel production
  • Climate change
  • Near-record U.S. exports of some agricultural products

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist