The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLA) warned Tuesday that the increase in food prices in the last months has raised the possibility of a global crisis.
The Santiago-based ECLA said the food prices began to rise early this decade, the process accelerated two years ago and has become a grave global concern since this year.
The ECLA attributed the food prices hikes in the last months to a variety of reasons, including the fall in the grain stocks and the demand increase in some developing countries.
The increase in the demand for agricultural products to produce biofuel, the impact of the dollar devaluation against the main currencies and adverse climatic factors that affect crops production also contributed to rises in food prices, said the ECLA.
The ECLA noted that the increase in grain prices also coincided with the decline in supplies.
It said the wheat market, for instance, was affected by the fall in the production in the European Union, Australia, Canada and the United States, mainly due to adverse climatic conditions.
At the same time, grain purchases, however, have increased in importing countries like the Philippines, and exportations have decreased in producing countries like Thailand and Vietnam.
In the markets of oils and vegetable oils, there has been a fall in the stocks and an increase in the prices specially of soya, canola and sunflower oils, it said.
Apart from rising demand for these products, the ECLA noted an increased industrial use of canola and soya oil in the European Union also contributed to the prices hikes.