The soaring cost of food is threatening millions of people in poor countries, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned. Food prices have risen an unprecedented 40% in the last year and many nations may be unable to cope, the agency says. It is calling for help for farmers in poor countries to buy seeds and fertiliser, and for a review of the impact of bio-fuels on food production. The FAO says 37 countries face food crises due to conflict and disaster.
"Without support for poor farmers and their families in the hardest-hit countries, they will not be able to cope," said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.
International cereal prices have already sparked food riots in several countries, the FAO points out
The causes of the rise food prices are a mixture of reasons .
Partly due to droughts and floods linked to climate change .
Changing diet in fast-developing nations such as China is also considered a factor, with more land needed to raise livestock to meet increasing demand for meat.
Rising oil prices boosting demand for bio-fuels , the use of land to grow plants which can be used to make alternative fuels - and the use of food crops themselves for fuel - has reduced food supplies and helped push up prices.