World food prices climbed for the eighth straight month in February, hitting a record high, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization announced today. The organization’s price index climbed 2.2%, to an average of 236 points, according to the Wall Street Journal, the highest level since records began being kept in 1990. And it’s only going to get worse if oil prices keep heading skyward, the FAO warned.
That’s because rising oil prices might push growers to prioritize ethanol corn over other crops. “The oil factor, which has so far not been a driving factor this season, could become an element like it was in 2008,” said the FAO’s secretary on grains. “It’s very unlikely we will see a food crisis in 2010-11, but we can’t exclude such a situation in 2011-12.” (Read more food prices stories.)