Prices for rice, wheat and other key foods are expected to remain volatile and possibly increase — and poor farmers and consumers particularly in Africa will be hurt most, the UN says.

In an annual report on the state of food insecurity around the world, the UN’s three food agencies urged governments to make good on pledges to share information about farm forecasts and food stock levels to avoid the price swings that resulted in food riots in 2006-2008 and an 8% increase in the number of undernourished people in Africa. They also urged greater long-term investment in the agriculture sectors of poor countries so farmers can bolster production to meet increasing demand and cope better when food crises hit.

Failure to do so, the agencies warns, will result in continued price fluctuations, which makes poor farmers and consumers in food-importing countries at ever greater risk for poverty.

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