Other factors that affected global food prices in the last decade include an increase in biofuels production, higher-than-normal imports, trade policies, low levels of stocks, rising energy and fertilizer prices, and increased trade within futures markets for food commodities.  

"There is reason to believe that food commodity prices will be both higher and more volatile in the decades to come," said Sophie Wenzlau, the study's author.  "As climate change increases the incidence of extreme weather events, production shocks will become more frequent. Food prices will also likely be driven up by population growth, increasing global affluence, stronger linkages between agriculture and energy markets, and natural resource constraints."

Further highlights from the report:

• Between 2000 and 2012, the World Bank global food price index increased 104.5 percent, at an average annual rate of 6.5 percent.

• Despite an end-of-year decline in 2012, international wheat prices were 17 percent higher in January 2013 than they were a year earlier, and maize prices were 11 percent higher. The international price of rice moved up only marginally, by 0.4 percent.

• The World Bank estimates that the 2011 food price spike — driven by a 57.9 percent increase in global cereal prices between June 2010 and April 2011— drove 44 million people into extreme poverty (under US$1.25 a day).

• Between 2000 and 2011, global biofuels production increased more than 500 percent, due in part to higher oil prices and the adoption of biofuel mandates in the United States and European Union.

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