15 Feb 2011

Huge spike in food prices across the Pacific in past three years

9:33 pm on 15 February 2011

A United Nations agency says new research shows food prices in the Pacific have climbed 100 percent in the past three years.

UNICEF's chief advocate in the Pacific, Samantha Cocco-Klein, says the impact of the global economic crisis has had a much greater impact in the region than previously thought.

She says together with other agencies and governments in the Pacific they're using an early warning sentinel system to monitor the welfare of children to ensure their advocacy is evidence-based.

Ms Cocco-Klein says even locally grown foods, such as yams, banana and taro, are up to double the price of three years ago, and it's not clear why.

"It seems that there is increased demand coming from different places. The monitoring we are doing doesn't really go into the why, we are just talking with families and getting their feedback on what they are paying for food and then doing market surveys. So it's hard to say why it's happening. It is puzzling because it's across the Pacific and it's imported food, it's locally grown food. It seems that everything is more expensive now."

UNICEF's Samantha Cocco-Klein who is one of the presenters at a conference in Wellington this week called the Resilience of the Pacific.