Food prices at new high

Global food
prices rose to a fresh high in December, according to the UN’s Food and
Agricultural Organisation.

Its Food Price
Index went above the previous record of 2008 that saw prices spark riots in
several countries.

Soaring sugar,
cereal and oil prices had driven the rise, the report said.

The index,
which measures monthly price changes for a food basket composed of dairy, meat
and sugar, cereals and oilseeds, averaged 214.7 points last month, up from 206
points in November.

It stood at
213.5 points at the high of June 2008 – sparking violent protests in countries
including Cameroon, Haiti and Egypt.

There were
further riots over food prices in Mozambique in September last year.

despite high prices, FAO economist Abdolreza Abbassian said that many of the
factors that triggered food riots in 2007 and 2008 – such as weak production in
poor countries – were not currently present, reducing the risk of more turmoil.

But he added that “unpredictable weather”
meant that grain prices could go much higher, which was “a concern”.


Photo: File