New Delhi: Global food prices rose by 8 percent between December 2011 and March 2012 on account of high oil prices, adverse weather conditions and increased food imports by Asia, World Bank on Wednesday said.
   
"Global food prices increased by 8 percent from December 2011 to March 2012 due to higher oil prices, adverse weather conditions, and Asia's strong demand for food imports," World Bank said in a statement.
   
The international agency's global food price index was only 1 percent below a year ago and 6 percent below the historic peak of February 2011, it said.
   
"If the current forecasts for increased food production do not materialise, global food prices could reach higher levels, underscoring the need to remain very vigilant," World Bank said.
   
According to the quarterly Food Price Watch report, the prices of all key staples increased between last December and March of this year, except for rice, due to both abundant supply and strong competition among exporters.
   
Maize prices increased by 9 percent, soybean oil by 7 percent, wheat by 6 percent, and sugar by 5 percent. Crude oil prices rose by 13 percent, it added.
   
After four months of consecutive price declines, food prices are on the rise again threatening the food security of millions of people," World Bank Vice President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) Otaviano Canuto said.
   
Putting food first must remain a priority for the global community and in our work in developing countries, he added.

(Agencies)