FAO: March food prices off record high, ready to rebound

MILAN - Global food prices came off

record highs in March after unrest in the Arab world and Japan's
earthquake, but new increases are in sight as demand grows and
supplies tighten, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said.

Rising food prices have climbed to the top of the

international political agenda after contributing to protests
that toppled the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year,
with unrest spreading across North Africa and the Middle East.

The FAO food price index, which measures monthly price

changes for a food basket composed of cereals, oilseeds, dairy,
meat and sugar, averaged 229.8 points in March, down from
February's record of 236.8 points -- falling for the first time
after eight months of rises.