As the need for more food assistance grows, food prices rise


I’m Clinton Griffiths with today’s AgDay minute.

As the discussion around a new COVID stimulus bill continues in Washington, the demand for food continues to rise. Both sides agree there is a need for more food assistance. Many families face hunger for the first time. The number of Americans on food stamps, or SNAP-which stands for the supplemental nutrition assistance program, has grown by more than 20-percent during the pandemic. And spending on the program has skyrocketed to 90-billion dollars with historic unemployment forcing the government to increase benefits by 15-percent in December. President Biden’s proposed relief plan would extend the SNAP benefits increase through September.

Meanwhile, food prices are getting more expensive. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said its food price index rose to the highest level in nearly seven years. That signals consumer and producer price inflation could heat up in the coming months. Global food prices climbed 4.3-percent from December to January, marking both the eighth consecutive rise in a row and also the highest monthly averages since July 2014.

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