As food demand soars, S. American production jumps, but with risks

by Dave

McClatchy Washington Bureau
In Argentina, economists estimate that annual inflation hovers around 25 percent, with rising food prices among the top contributing factors. Local prices for corn have grown by 41 percent over the past year, while prices for wheat have risen by 56 percent.

Yet the trend also has brought in billions of dollars in export revenue for South American economies and driven the longest spell of sustained growth in the region’s recent history.

Governments have amassed tens of billions of dollars in reserves, and unemployment and poverty rates have dropped.

“Argentina has come out on the positive end of these trends,” economist Jorge Todesca said. “But in global terms, Argentina is just discovering its role. The government still sees the agricultural sector principally as a provider of food to Argentines.”