Global food prices continue to fall: World Bank

Washington, July 26 (IANS) Global food prices dropped 2 percent between February and June, said the World Bank.

The World Bank said Thursday in its Food Price Watch report that improved weather conditions and weaker demand resulted in the third consecutive quarterly decline of food prices, reported Xinhua.

The World Bank's Food Price Index showed international wheat prices fell 2 percent, sugar 6 percent, soybean oil 11 percent, and maize, or corn, 1 percent during the February-June period.

Global maize production was expected to reach a record high this year, according to the report. But the report also cautioned that uncertainty remains in international markets because recent unfavourable weather conditions in northern and central Europe and other risks may affect the prospects of world food production.

The World Bank also noted that some countries with high poverty and weak safety nets are responding to the chronic volatility by scaling up food subsidy programs that are often counter-productive.

"Poorly designed food subsidy programs that lack transparency and accountability in implementation do not benefit poor people," said Jaime Saavedra, a World Bank vice president. "These programs can be very costly and prone to corruption and waste scarce fiscal resources."

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