Page last updated at 09:20 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 10:20 UK

Mexican tortilla prices 'up 18%'

Woman carrying tortillas in shop
Corn tortillas are a staple food in Mexico

The price of tortillas, a staple food in Mexico, are set to rise 18% in the next few weeks, an industry group says.

Thousands of people protested against tortilla price rises in Mexico last year and they have become a big political issue.

The National Chamber for the Tortilla and Dough Industry told Reuters that prices would rise from 8.5 pesos (42 pence) a kilo now to 10 pesos in June.

The government said it would work to make sure that did not happen.

Tortilla prices are not state-controlled in Mexico, but the economy minister Eduardo Sojo said the government would use measures such as offering subsidies for transport and warehousing to stop them rising.

But last year, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon said that while he would intervene to tackle soaring prices, he would not reintroduce the subsidies and price controls that were lifted in the 1990s.

Rising costs of corn and fuel sent the prices of the corn pancakes up by more than 10% last year.

A local newspaper report suggested that prices could go up as high as 12 pesos a kilo in the next few weeks.

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