6 Jan 2011

Global food prices rising again

8:55 am on 6 January 2011

New figures from the United Nations show global food prices are at a record high.

The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation says that's because of a surge on its food price index in the cost of basic items such as sugar, cereals, oils and meat products.

The BBC reports rising sugar, cereal and oil prices have driven the rise.

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.

The FAO says prices are now entering what it describes as dangerous territory.

The last record was set in 2008 when steep rises in the cost of food sparked riots in Cameroon, Haiti and Egypt.

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

Drought last year forced Russia to suspend wheat exports. The floods in Queensland, Australia are already beginning to affect the price of grain.

Australia has already cut its forecast for sugar exports this year by 25%.