New Delhi: After food inflation reached 8.74 percent for the week ended April 9, on rising prices of egg, meat, fish and onions, a concerned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for stepping up efforts to enhance food security on Thursday.

With food inflation rising from the one-and-half-year low of 8.28 per cent for the week ended April 2, Singh on Thursday admitted that unrelenting inflation, especially of food items, had become a cause for concern.

"We have to make a concerted effort to enhance our food security... during the past year and a half, persistent inflation, especially in the food sector, has become a cause of concern," the Prime Minister said.

The swing in food inflation from a three-week declining trend is likely to add fresh fuel to the government worries.

Even as the Prime Minister said the government has a constant policy to control inflation without hurting growth, food inflation is marking its own trajectory despite the RBI raising the interest rates eight times since March 2010.

However, the central bank has admitted the limitations of its monetary policy, saying that rising of interest rates has limited the impact on food prices.

Significantly, Singh said, "The needs of a growing and increasingly more prosperous population can only be met by enhanced production of a diversified basket of agricultural products."

During the week under review, fruits became dearer by 25.25 per cent on year-on-year, while egg, meat and fish were 14.96 per cent more expensive. Onions became expensive by 8.28 per cent.

Yes Bank Chief Economist Shubhada Rao feels the inflation may come down in the coming weeks.

Food inflation in the corresponding week of last year was 20.31 per cent. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) has remained above the 8 per cent mark since February 2010.

For the week ended April 9, cereals' prices went up by 4.48 per cent on an annual basis and, rice and wheat became expensive by 2.08 per cent and 1.31 per cent, respectively. Vegetables overall became dearer by 1.53 per cent. Potatoes were up by 1.21 per cent. Milk became expensive by 4.05 per cent on an annual basis.

Pulses, however, bucked the trend and witnessed a decline of 5.67 per cent. For non-food articles, inflation was 27.69 per cent year-on-year. Fuel and power became dearer by 13.05 per cent, while petrol was up 21.81 per cent.

"Fuel prices may see some upward revision after elections process in four states and one union territory is over," Rao said.

(Agencies)