UN food agency says soaring food prices likely to persist

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ROME: Soaring food prices that have sparked unrest across the globe are likely to persist, threatening millions of people worldwide who live on $1 or less a day, a UN agency said Friday.

Prices of bread, rice, milk, oil and other basic foodstuffs have sharply increased in the past months in many developing countries, according to a report by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization.

The quarterly report says cereal prices have risen as a result of steady demand, supply shortages and new export restrictions.

However, the tight supply situation could ease as world cereal production is expected to increase this year by 2.6 percent to a record 2.16 billion tons.

Most of the increase will be in wheat, while rice production is also expected to rise slightly, according to the “Crop Prospects and Food Situation report released on Friday.

Surging food prices, combined with rising fuel costs, have triggered protests around the world, especially in developing countries.

One person was killed in two days of rioting in Egypt earlier this week, while violence wracked Haiti, where demonstrations over rising food prices led to looting and clashes with police. -AP

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