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Food costs at record high, UN says

Text by Sébastian SEIBT

Latest update : 2011-03-04

Food costs reached a new record in February, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The increase underlines the looming threat of a new global hunger crisis.

Food prices rose to a new world record, FAO economist Abby Abbassian told FRANCE 24 on Thursday. In February, an index of 55 food commodities rose by 2.2 percent compared to the previous month. Over the past six months, the index has risen by nearly 70 percent.

The situation is starting to look more and more like the crisis of 2008, when hunger riots broke out across the world. Indeed, the increase in the price of cereal, which represents 46 percent of the world’s calorie consumption, “is in large part responsible for this new record”, Abbassian explained.

But according to the FAO, several factors could prevent a new hunger crisis. “The situation in 2008 was largely due to rises in rice costs, which are usually relatively stable,” Abbassian said. Furthermore, at the time, investments in biofuels -- which use cereal -- seemed to be uncontrollable, whereas today “they are better controlled”.
 

Date created : 2011-03-03

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