The rapidly rising world population will outpace food production and lead to significantly higher commodity prices, according to a report published Monday. World grain prices could double by 2050 the report says.

The International Food Policy Research Institute predicts corn prices could rise 100 percent while the cost of rice could increase 31.2 percent as production faces climate change.

While global food prices have fallen in the past century, the report said it expects this trend to reverse. "Increasing demand driven by population and income growth is greater than productivity growth, which is hampered by the negative productivity effects of climate change," it said.

Released today as part of a food security conference here, the report argues that boosting investment in agriculture by at least $7 billion and strengthening world trade flows will be vital to ensuring food security in the future.

Based on estimates that corn yields can increase by 2 percent annually up to 2050 in the countries that produce 80 percent of the world's output now, IFPRI said price increases could be limited to 12 percent, rather than more than 100 percent. This would decrease the number of malnourished children in the world by 3.2 percent.

With the same scenario in wheat, 2.2 percent fewer children in developing countries would be malnourished in the same period, the report found.

Because of the dramatic variation in the effects of climate change, strengthening world trade flows will also be vital to mitigating losses in productivity in some parts of the world. "Trade flows can partially offset the effects of climate change on local productivity, allowing regions of the world with fewer negative effects to supply those with more negative effects," the report said.

Source: Dow Jones