FAO calls special meeting on rising global food prices

3rd September 2010, Comments 0 comments

The UN food agency on Friday said it would hold a special meeting to discuss rising world food prices, as Russia extended a wheat export ban and food riots broke out in Mozambique.

"It is a special meeting because so far there is no emergency on the markets but a lot of volatility" in world cereal markets, a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official told AFP on Friday.

The one-day meeting of government representatives would be held in Rome on September 24.

Abdolreza Abbassian, an economist and grain analyst at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said although the organisation did not fear a new crisis, "there is already some anxiety on the markets."

Russia's announcement would "prolong anxiety and volatility," he added.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Russia, a major world producer, would not lift a ban on grain exports before next year's harvest.

The FAO said the meeting was not an emergency meeting and dismissed any comparison with the situation in 2007-2008.

During that period, food shortages and the resulting price rises sparked riots throughout the developing world.

"The fundamentals are right, they are not those before the crisis in 2007 and 2008," an FAO official insisted.

"There are plenty of stocks and prices are below the peaks of 2008. But there is lots of turmoil."

In Mozambique seven people were killed and 288 injured during riots on Wednesday and Thursday over rising bread and fuel prices in and around Maputo, the capital of the country.

The price of bread has risen 17 percent, increasing pressure on struggling households in a country with a per capita income of just 794 dollars (620 euros) a year.

© 2010 AFP

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