Official German economists have rejected media claims that growing demand in China is the main reason for the current spike in world food prices, and a German farm leader on Friday blamed speculative food traders.
A study by the National Office for Agricultural Produce Prices ZMP said China's alleged influence on markets was often exaggerated.
"In the past 10 years, Chinese domestic consumption of milk and dairy products rose by more than five times.
"The bulk of this increase in demand was satisfied by a simultaneous expansion in Chinese production," said a ZMP study obtained by Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa .
It said Chinese pork production had collapsed because of animal disease, but China would meet its own needs in the long term and might even become a pork exporter. It said China also met its own needs in wheat, maize and rice, and sometimes exported these.
ZMP said China had had a strong influence on world soybean prices, with 40 per cent of world production being bought by China. China's imports of soybeans as animal feed had tripled over seven years.
The report said Chinese imports of other primary products such as cotton, vegetable oils, rubber, timber and animal skins had soared.
Gerd Sonnleitner, president of Germany's national farmers' union, said the current world food shortage was the fault of speculators.
Addressing the Bavarian state farming association Friday, he said, "A lot of them are getting out of the market in hard raw materials and are speculating on rice and food instead."
He demanded that governments crack down on "global speculation" and charged that developing-country governments abused their own farmers through waste and corruption.
"They have neglected their own farmers and now consumers are paying the bitter price for it," he said.