Demand from India, China not responsible for food price rise: FAO

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Bangkok, May 23 (UNI) Demand for food in India and China has grown much slower in recent years than in the rest of the world and cannot be blamed for soaring international food prices, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said here today.

In an assessment of the food situation in the region, the Bangkok-based Asia-Pacific office of the UN's food and agriculture agency has disproved the claim that increased food consumption in the two most populous nations was responsible for the current food crisis.

''FAO's analysis indicates that this explanation is highly implausible where cereals are concerned, as cereal utilisation in the two countries has grown more slowly than in the rest of the world, which is inconsistent with this argument,'' said the Asia Pacific Food Situation Update launched today.

The Update is part of an FAO Initiative on Soaring Food Prices launched in December 2007.

According to the analysis, ''structural factors related to demand and supply'' have played a key role in the price rise.

Global cereal production fell below cereal consumption since 1999, recovering briefly from 2003 to 2005.

''This has heightened price volatility in cereal markets, with sharp price reactions to unexpected developments,'' it added.

UNI XC RJ GC1757

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