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Kenyan Leaders Call For Action on Food Prices; Mexico Freezes Cost of Basics


Kenya's president is calling for urgent and decisive action to combat rising food prices.

Mwai Kibaki told ministers at a regional meeting of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Thursday the world's poor are hurting the most and that a solution "must be found now."

He also said any regional solution must include increasing trade between African countries.

Kenyan Agriculture Minister William Ruto also spoke at the meeting in Nairobi and called on African nations to increase investment in farming to ease their dependence on imports.

Meanwhile, Mexico's government is taking on soaring food prices with a series of voluntary prices controls.

President Felipe Calderon says prices for staples, like tortillas, beans, coffee and hundreds of other items, will hold steady for the rest of the year following an agreement with the country's food manufacturers.

Inflation in Mexico has accelerated at its fastest pace in three years.

Last month Mexico announced a temporary suspension of tariffs on some imported food products.

Also today, corn prices fell for the first time in two weeks in trading on the Chicago Board of Trade, on speculation near record prices were hurting demand. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says corn sales fell 35 percent for the week ending June 12.

The United Nations says it will take $15 billion to $20 billion each year to stem the tide of soaring food prices that increased global hunger and poverty and sparked rioting in some countries.

Delegates at an emergency food summit in Rome earlier this month approved a declaration vowing to work together to ease the suffering caused by the global rise in food prices.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.