More reports on: Agriculture
Global food crisis in offing, warn France, FAO news
05 February 2011

India is not alone in battling soaring food prices - G20 leader France and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned on Friday about the risk of a new global food crisis and ensuing riots, calling for greater regulation to curb speculation on commodities markets.

The warning came a day after FAO said its global food price index had climbed to a record high in January, increasing for the seventh consecutive month.

The UN food body said prices were likely to rise even higher as supplies of grains and other main agricultural commodities were tight and bad weather in key producing countries threatened new crops.

"We share the same view that today the real risk of a global food crisis exists," French agriculture minister Bruno Le Maire said at a joint news conference with the head of FAO, Jacques Diouf, in Rome.

Surging food prices have come back into the spotlight after they helped fuel protests that toppled Tunisia's president in January and have spilt over to Egypt and Jordan. This has raised speculation other countries in the region would secure grain stocks to reassure their populations.

Without naming countries, Le Maire and Diouf spelled out the risk that rising prices would fuel more food riots, calling for structural measures - including increased market regulation - to curb price volatility.

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Global food crisis in offing, warn France, FAO