Whether for profit or social motives - and often both - an increasing number of investors are targeting opportunities in African agriculture. At the same time innovative approaches for deploying aid to support farming businesses linked to smallholders are emerging. This blog provides a snapshot of who is doing what, where and how.

5 January 2011

World food prices at fresh high, says UN

Global food prices rose to a fresh high in December, according to the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). Its Food Price Index went above the previous record of 2008 that saw prices spark riots in several countries.

Soaring sugar, cereal and oil prices had driven the rise, the report said.The index, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket composed of dairy, meat and sugar, cereals and oilseeds, averaged 214.7 points last month, up from 206 points in November.

It stood at 213.5 points at the high of June 2008 - sparking violent protests in countries including Cameroon, Haiti and Egypt.There were further riots over food prices in Mozambique in September last year.

However, despite high prices, FAO economist Abdolreza Abbassian said that many of the factors that triggered food riots in 2007 and 2008 - such as weak production in poor countries - were not currently present, reducing the risk of more turmoil.

But he added that "unpredictable weather" meant that grain prices could go much higher, which was "a concern".


See full artcile on BBC website here