Food prices have continued to rise for many reasons. Labor disruptions, shipping complications, and extreme weather are all taking their toll on the supply chain and ultimately the consumer. Some market watchers and officials are confident fluctuations will begin to smooth out as reopening efforts continue and vaccine rates increase, but others do not share their optimism. When it comes to two of the world’s most in-demand crops, a steep rise in prices may be on the horizon.
Brazil has been facing an unusually tough winter with extreme and sudden temperature drops in the southeast, which have majorly affected the country’s coffee and sugar cane belt. Frosts in late July have been some of the most severe, with temperatures dropping at rates not seen since 1994. The effect on sugar cane plants and coffee trees has been detrimental and compounds the impact of some of the worst droughts in 90 years.
A Scorching Impact On Crops
So far, the cold snap has damaged nearly half a million acres of coffee fields by scorching the leaves and branches of arabica and robusta bean crops. Severe frost has also damaged more than a quarter of sugar cane fields. The news has led to notable jumps in coffee futures and is expected to have a lasting impact on the price of not only coffee and sugar, but also on Brazil’s corn and citrus exports.
Some preliminary reports from agronomists and exporter estimates project that the cold snap will affect export rates well into 2022. Currently, coffee prices have already jumped to rates not seen in over six years.
Empty Warehouses And High-Cost Cups
Apart from the effects of extreme weather, soaring prices continue to be affected by a shortage of shipping containers and meager coffee yields from last year’s growing season. The result could mean empty warehouses and roasting rooms across the globe, or at the very least, a much higher tab with each trip to the cafe or convenience store for that morning cup.