ROME The world has to take swift action to halt the steady rise in food prices and step up its commitment to sustainable agriculture, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday.
"We must act now, effectively and cooperatively to blunt the negative effect of rising food prices," she said in a speech to the United Nations food agency in Rome.
Rising food prices have become highly sensitive around the world after fuelling protests that toppled the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year, with unrest spreading across North Africa and the Middle East.
The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Thursday that world food prices rose slightly in April, boosted by concern about the U.S. grains crop, but they were still off record highs reached in February.
Clinton said the world community needed to deepen its commitment to sustainable agriculture and food security.
"We must redouble our commitment to sustainable agriculture and food security... and we must improve our coordination within and across all organizations," she said.
(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; writing by James Mackenzie)