Rome–World food prices rose slightly in April, marking a third consecutive monthly increase after four years of decline, but they remained almost 10 percent lower than a year earlier, the UN food agency said.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Food Price Index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, vegetable oils, meat, sugar and dairy products, averaged 151.8 points in April, a 0.7 percent growth from March, the agency said on Thursday.

The index has dropped annually for four straight years to a near seven-year low due to slowing global growth. Despite the recent increase, it is still about a third off its highs in 2011, Xinhua news agency reported.

Demand for palm oil continued to rise, pushing prices of oils and fats 4.1 percent higher for the month.

Prices of grains and cereals — the largest component of the index — rose 1.5 percent, as higher corn prices offset slight drops in prices of rice and wheat.

Other parts of the index were mixed, with dairy prices falling 2.2 percent, sugar prices falling 1.7 percent after leaping 17 percent a month earlier, and prices of meats rising 0.8 percent.

The next instalment of the FAO index, which is based on a basket of 55 goods and 73 price quotations in the five major food commodity groups, will be released on June 2. (IANS)