French pasta makers have warned of an upcoming shortage of durum wheat and are calling on governments for help.
“Climate change is endangering the pasta market,” the union of industrial pasta manufacturers (SIPAF) and the French committee for industrial semolina (CFSI) said in a joint statement on Monday.
The press release cited extremely “abundant rains” in Europe and “an unprecedented drought in Canada” leading to a “shortage of durum wheat, the only raw material for pasta, and to the historic surge in world prices.”
The world reference price for duram wheat has shot up 30% over the past week alone. As blé dur counts for three-quarters of the price of a package of dried pasta, consumers can expect to pay more for a plate of tagliatelle in the coming weeks and months.
Canada, which accounts for two-thirds of world’s production of durum wheat, was hit this summer by an exceptionally intense “heat dome” that saw temperatures reach 49.6°C in Lytton, British Columbia. This was five degrees hotter than Canada’s former highest temp recorded 84 years ago.
The heat wave has impacted harvest and production will drop, according to Statistics Canada, a third (32%) less than the average of the last five years and almost 30% less than the July 20 forecast. “With a historically low stock, it will not be possible to supply the world market with stored hard wheats,” said the pasta and semolina producers.
Add to this the heavy rains experienced in France and “an insufficient harvest in Europe with 7.3 million tons instead of the 9.5 million tons needed," or a shortfall of 25%. The rain “greatly reduced the usable potential of French durum wheat for making pasta.”
SIPAF and CFSI are appealing to authorities to put “an emergency plan” in place to ensure their supply of French wheat and to ensure that distributors pass on “the explosion in the price of durum wheat in the selling prices to get through this exceptional crisis.”
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations reported that global food prices rose 39.7% from May 2020 to May 2021 with the “surge in the international prices of vegetable oils, sugar and cereals.” Since the report, however, prices have fallen slightly the past few months consecutively.