FAO says world food prices will probably decline this year

FAO: Global Food Prices To Decline Slightly; Remain Volatile
from businessweek: World food prices will probably fall this year, said Jose Graziano da Silva, the new director general of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

We’re expecting that prices will not be growing,” da Silva, 62, said at a press conference in Rome today. “There will be some reductions. Volatility will remain.”

Declines probably will be smaller than in 2009, according to the director general. As of February of that year, an index of world food prices compiled by the FAO had slumped 37 percent in 14 months. The gauge dropped 9.5 percent through last November from a record high in February 2011 as dairy, grain and sugar prices retreated.

Da Silva, a former Brazilian minister of food security, took over at the FAO as of Jan. 1 following his election in June. He succeeded Senegal-born Jacques Diouf, who spent 18 years at the head of the biggest UN agency.

The FAO, whose Latin motto “Fiat panis” means “Let there be bread,” was set up in 1945 as a specialized UN agency. Its mandate includes raising nutrition levels and agricultural productivity, and da Silva said he’s “optimistic” the FAO can make progress in reducing hunger.

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