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Reprieve for consumers as global food prices fall

07 February 2012, 12:17 Boniface Otieno

A report by World Bank on Food Price Watch indicates that global food prices declined by 8 percent between September and December 2011.
The reduction in food prices was due to increasing supplies and uncertainty in the global economy though still remains volatile and high with 2011 annual index still at 24 percent higher than its average in 2010.
“The worst food price increases may be over but we must remain vigilant. Prices of certain foods remain dangerously high in certain countries, leaving millions of people at risk of malnutrition and hunger,” said Otaviano Canuto, the World Bank Group’s Vice President for Poverty Eradication and Economic Management (PREM).
The report further sates that despite the downward rends over the last few months, global prices of key staple continued increasing unpredictability, as the average annual price of wheat, maize and rice exceeded average in 2010.
“Domestic food prices also experienced sharp increases in price in many countries from December 2010 to December 2011.Rice prices increased by 81 percent in Uganda and 56 percent in Malawi as maize was up 117 percent in Kenya and 106 percent in Mexico,” states the report.
It further states that prospects for decline in 2012 food prices remain favourable, due to weaker consumer demands as a result of sluggish global economy, expected decline in the price of energy and crude oil, and strong forecast for 2012 food supplies.
The report however indicates that some upward price pressures still remain with a possible increase in demand for biofuels if oil prices pick up again.
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