UN: Food prices likely to remain volatile, high

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Associated Press

Posted on October 10, 2012 at 3:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 10 at 3:04 AM

ROME (AP) — The United Nations says prices for rice, wheat and other key foods are expected to remain volatile and possibly increase, and poor farmers and consumers especially in Africa, will be hurt most.

The U.N.'s three food agencies have issued their annual report on the state of food insecurity around the world, urging governments to make good on pledges to share information about farm forecasts and food stock levels to avoid the price swings. Those price swings resulted in food riots from 2006 to 2008 and an eight percent increase in the number of undernourished people in Africa.

The food agencies also are urging greater long-term investment in the agriculture sectors of poor countries so farmers can bolster production to meet increasing demand and cope better when food crises hit.

The agencies say failure to do so will result in continued price fluctuations.

A recent U.N. study predicted that prices will be 20 percent higher for cereals and up to 30 percent higher for meat in the coming decade compared with the past 10 years.

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