In the last few days a couple of stories have emerged in national media about the rising cost of bread, which is up by over 25% this year, and driven by much higher prices of wheat.

But while there have been various warnings from the food industry about rising prices, it has taken time to grab the attention of mainstream media.

Instead, it is the rising cost of gas and fuel that has been the main contributor to the latest UK Consumer Price Index (CPI) moving to its highest level for a decade at 4.2%.

However, with the unprecedented input cost inflation currently facing farmers, surely alarm bells are starting to ring further along the supply chain, and also in government.

The only way this can realistically play out is that these costs are passed to consumers, who will have to pay substantially more.

The main driver is fertiliser, with prices nearly trebled in the last 12 months, and £600 - £700/t for straight Nitrogen looking increasingly likely in the spring of 2022. That will add 30% to the costs of making silage, and probably around 40% to the variable cost of growing grain.

On top of that for livestock farmers, they are looking at another price hike in concentrate feed by next spring, with prices potentially up 30% in a year.

These are not cost increases that can be absorbed in the normal run of business, and either output prices match those increases or farmers will have no alternative but to produce less. Reduced supply means higher prices, so it is an inevitable outcome either way.

Of course, farmers producing less is just what green campaigners seem to want. However, high food prices hit the poor the hardest. While we all need to work together to avert a climate crisis, we must not create a hunger crisis along the way.

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