Global food prices increased by eight per cent from December 2011 to March 2012 because of higher oil prices, adverse weather conditions, and Asia’s strong demand for food imports, according to the World Bank Group’s latest Food Price Watch.
The World Bank’s Global Food Price Index was only one per cent below a year ago and six per cent below the February 2011 historic peak. If the current forecasts for increased food production do not materialise, global food prices could reach higher levels, underscoring the need to remain very vigilant.
"After four months of consecutive price declines, food prices are on the rise again threatening the food security of millions of people," said Otaviano Canuto, World Bank Vice President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM). "Putting food first must remain a priority for the international community and in our work in developing countries."
According to the quarterly Food Price Watch report, prices of all key staples increased between last December and March of this year, except for rice, due to both abundant supply and strong competition among exporters. Maize prices increased by nine per cent, soybean oil by seven per cent, wheat by six per cent, and sugar by five per cent. Crude oil prices rose by 13 per cent.
In addition, domestic food prices remain high, especially in Africa as the result of a combination of large food imports and local factors, such as trade restrictions between neighbours, hoarding, civil unrest, high fuel transportation costs and bad weather conditions.
In a global context, domestic food price increases have been larger than price declines across countries.
Wheat prices from March 2011 to March 2012 rose 92 per cent in Belarus, while the price of maize increased by 82 per cent in Malawi, 80 per cent in Ethiopia, and 71 per cent in Mexico.
Production outlooks remain strong for 2012/13 and a number of factors have kept pressures on prices at bay, the World Bank said.
Record prices in late 2010 and early 2011 led to increased production of major crops worldwide, and are a key factor in the strong projections for the 2012/13 season.
The slowdown in maize use for ethanol production in the US and weak global demand due to the euro crisis are contributing to keeping upward price pressures on check.
The narrow focus of many euro zone countries on fiscal austerity is deepening the jobs crisis and could even lead to another recession in Europe, said the Director of the ILO Institute for International Labour Studies and lead author of the report, Raymond Torres.
Yassen Lyubenov is the new head of marketing at Bulgarian beer brewer Kamenitza. Lyubenov has 12 years of experience in marketing in the fast-moving consumer goods sector and has started his career as assistant brand manager at Kraft Foods Bulgaria. He later became brand manager at Wrigley Bulgaria, with responsibilities for Bulgaria and Macedonia. Prior to joining Kamenitza, he was senior marketing manager at Wrigley Russia, where he was in charge of brand expansion into Ukraine, Belarus, Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Lyubenov has a bachelor's degree in international business administration from the University of Lincoln, UK.
Kamelia Lozanova has been appointed the executive director of the Employment Agency, a position she has held ad interim since September 2011, following the resignation of her predecessor Rossitsa Stelianova. Prior to that, Lozanova was the agency's deputy executive director in charge of international projects and European programmes. She has been with the agency for more than 20 years.
Lozanova has a degree in Slavonic philology from the St Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia.
Gloria Dimitrova has been appointed executive director and member of the managing board at Uniqa Life Insurance Bulgaria. Dimitrova began her career in 1998 at the insurance supervision directorate, but moved to the private sector and worked for professional services and insurance brokerage firm Marsh&McLennan and US insurer AIG, both in Bulgaria and the Middle East. She joined Uniqa as regional director for Sofia in 2010.
Dimitrova has a degree in economics from the University for National and World Economy in Sofia and a master's degree in insurance from the Business Academy in Svishtov.
Bedros Kalfayan, general manager of skin care and cosmetics company Beiersdorf Bulgaria, will oversee the parent's company units in Romania and Moldova starting April 1. Following company restructuring, Beiersdorf's subsidiaries in the three countries were merged and are now one unit, part of Beiersdorf Central and Eastern Europe. Kalfayan joined Beiersdorf in 2007 as sales manager and was promoted to general manager in 2008. Prior to that, he worked for Axxon Bulgaria, Ferrero and Rubella.
Kalfayan has a master's degree in industrial management from the Technical University in Sofia.
Sasha Bezuhanova has been appointed Hewlett-Packard public sector director for emerging markets, where she will oversee HP public sector activities in 63 countries, including Bulgaria. Bezuhanova will also be in charge of HP's relations with the European Union. Bezuhanova has been HP's public sector director for Central and Eastern Europe since 2008; before that she was general manager of HP Bulgaria since 1998.
Bezuhanova has a master's degree in electronics from the Technical University in Sofia and has completed a managment programme at INSEAD.
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