Drought blamed for rising food prices

Some of the first effects of the drought in California are starting to be seen in grocery stores as prices at Bay Area market begin to rise.
March 13, 2014 1:31:35 AM PDT
Some of the first effects of the drought in California are starting to be seen in grocery stores as prices at Bay Area market begin to rise.

In many cases, consumers are only getting half the food for the same price they paid before the drought. The price of beef alone has doubled ever since ranchers began selling off their herds because of the lack of grass.

"The cattle that some of these ranchers have held on to; they have very limited numbers, so that's making the price go up," Aaron Rocchino of The Local Butcher said.

But it's not just meat. It's produce, too. And even though prices are typically higher in the winter, shoppers are seeing them rise even higher than that.

"Any type of berry," shopper Rene Camarena said. "They're five bucks for one pound of strawberries. So it has gone up considerably since we've had a drought."

"So now what we've been doing is going to stores like Berkeley Bowl for grains; we're going to personal markets for fish and meats, then going to Safeway for small things," shopper Barry Winfield said.

But not everyone can afford these prices and food banks are expecting as much as a 20 percent increase in demand during the next six months.

"It is a perfect storm for food banks in California, but we know the governor has pledged $25 million, we're very pleased with that," California Association of Food banks Executive Director Sue Sigler said.

But will it be enough? Agriculture experts also say thousands of acres of fruit and nut trees will die because of a lack of water, adding to the food shortage.


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