Chinese shoppers select pork at a supermarket in Hefei, east China's Anhui province on April 9, 2012. China's inflation rate edged up in March, driven by rising food costs but analysts said there was still scope for Beijing to stimulate the slowing economy.
Credit: STR

Global food prices are on the rise again, threatening the food security of millions of people, the World Bank said today.

The cost of food around the world rose 8 percent between December and March, after declining in the previous four months, and economists are worried that prices could go higher unless food production increases, Reuters reported, citing the World Bank’s latest food price index.

Prices for major staple crops such as maize, soybean oil, wheat and sugar rose between 5-9 percent due to higher crude oil prices, adverse weather conditions and strong demand for food imports in Asia, the Washington-based lender said.

Only rice avoided a price bump thanks to plentiful supply and fierce competition among exporters, the Los Angeles Times noted.

“After four months of consecutive price declines, food prices are on the rise again, threatening the food security of millions of people,” said Otaviano Canuto, the World Bank’s vice president for poverty reduction and economic management, in a statement.

“Putting food first must remain a priority for the international community and in our work in developing countries.”

Prices in some places, such as Africa, are especially steep due to large food imports, trade restrictions between neighboring countries, hoarding, unrest, high fuel costs and bad weather, the LA Times said.

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In Mexico, the cost of maize soared 71 percent in the year to March, while wheat prices in Belarus rose by a whopping 92 percent over the same period.

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