Governments worldwide will increase their role in global food markets and may boost stockpiles and subsidies or impose trade curbs to head off the protests that have rippled through the Middle East, commodity traders said.
“Greater political intervention in food matters is only to be expected,” Alan Winney, chairman of Emerald Group Australia Pty Ltd., said in an interview at a sugar-industry conference in Dubai. “Governments will be careful to take preemptive measures to prevent increases in food prices,” said Winney.
Countries across Africa to Asia are increasing imports or releasing supply from state reserves to cool inflation as rising demand and adverse weather cuts harvests and pushes food prices to a record. A revolt in Libya widened at the weekend, with leader Muammar Qaddafi’s son warning that a civil war would risk the country’s oil wealth and invite a return of colonial powers.