The rise in global food prices, caused by inclement weather in major agricultural regions and higher production costs, has sparked unrest in many countries—especially in such developing nations as Algeria and Tunisia that are more vulnerable to price changes. Yet in some countries, certain staple foods remain level or have even decreased in price from a year ago. In India, for example, the retail price of onions in January had more than doubled in 12 months, but prices of potatoes and wheat were down, according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
. In Chile, the price of chicken increased, but potatoes became cheaper. "In general, those countries where prices are now lower than a year ago have benefited from good harvests," says Concepción Calpe, a senior economist for the FAO in Rome. Consumers in markets that depend on imported food products—such as rice in Haiti, Chile, and Mozambique—are the most exposed and will eventually feel the effects of the current rise in global food prices, but that impact may not be immediate, Calpe says. High international prices do not always translate into high domestic prices, she adds, due to variations in exchange rates; tariff barriers that limit imports; domestic price policies, such as price subsidies; and transport costs. Click
to see how the prices of staple foods have changed in several countries around the world over the past year.