FEATURE-Corn price hike forces Mexicans to cut back on tortillas


* Corn prices hit nine-year high, partly due to Ukraine war

* Cost of Latin America's staple tortillas and tamales jumps

* Some 267 million people face food poverty in the region


By Diana Baptista , Thomson Reuters Foundation

via Devdiscourse - June 17, 2022


MEXICO CITY / Business at Marco Antonio Jimenez's taco stall in Mexico City was just starting to recover from repeated COVID-19 lockdowns when global corn prices skyrocketed, sinking his sales once again. The surge in the cost of corn - which is used to make Mexico's staple tortilla - forced Jimenez to raise the price of his tacos by two pesos (10 U.S. cents), but he said many of his mainly low-income customers could no longer afford the 20-peso snack.


"When the price of tortillas increases, I have to increase the price of tacos," Jimenez, 26, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Many people prefer not to buy anything anymore," he said.


The conflict in Ukraine has hit global grains and fertilizer supplies https://news.trust.org/item/20220506132617-jyg3a, contributing to a jump of almost 20% in global corn prices between February and March and taking them to a nine-year high in April, according to World Bank data.


Ukraine is the world's No. 4 corn supplier, while seven Latin American countries were among the 20 biggest importers of the grain during 2021. That fuels the threat of food poverty in a region where 267 million people have had to reduce the amount they eat since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with many sometimes going hungry, said Carolina Trivelli, senior adviser for strategic analysis at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)...




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