9 Sep 2011

World food prices still high - FAO

12:50 pm on 9 September 2011

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says global food prices remain near a record high.

The agency's price index, which looks at a range of essential foods, reached 231 points in August, up 26% from the same period last year.

The index reached a record 238 points in February.

Cereal prices rose on anticipation of a shortfall in production this year, which is expected to be six million tonnes less than predicted in July.

Wheat inventories are also likely to fall to their lowest level since 2009.

Of the major food staples, only rice stocks are expected to increase significantly due to a record production of 479 million tonnes expected this year.

High food prices - particularly those of wheat, rice and corn - have sparked civil unrest in countries where people rely on them for most of their food intake.