Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 17:28 UK

BBC World Food Price Index

The BBC World Service is tracking food prices in seven major cities to create a World Food Price Index. Each week reporters head to the shops to record the prices for five of that country's staple foods.

Every basket of goods was normalised to a cost of 100 when the project began in July 2008. How much it cost to buy the same basket of goods after that time is reflected in the rise above or dip below 100.

Use the map to see how the cities have fared.

MoscowBrusselsWashington DCNairobiDelhiBuenos AiresJakartaWorld Service Average


World Service Average 17/08/09

French bread

Brussels basket 17/08/09

Basket contents: Beef; Eggs (6); Bread (white loaf, 400g); Milk (1L); Potatoes (1kg)

Analysis: Prices have remained relatively flat in Brussels. Indeed, for much of this year, the cost of basic staples such as bread and meat has either been stable or has fallen.

Prices have fallen for some items, helped by a fall in production costs. Some fruit and vegetables are cheaper now.

Good weather has led to good crops, strawberries and cherries cost less. However, the cost of the new season's potatoes has risen recently.

The rise in milk prices has not been as marked, and follows a price war between one of Belgium's major supermarket groups and rival discount chains.

Buenos Aires basket

 Buenos Aires basket 17/08/09

Basket contents: Beef (1kg); Milk (1L); Bread (1kg); Potatoes (1kg); Eggs (6)

Analysis: The lines for potatoes and bread are almost hidden behind the line for beef as prices have remained steady.

Price rises on many basic foods appear to have frozen over the past year following government price controls.

But despite these controls, the BBC food price index is registering a rise of around 19% over the year, and the increase has mostly been due to the rise in meat and milk prices.

For Argentina one of the main food issues at the moment is meat production.

There has been a lot of criticism from cattle ranchers and farmers who say the government forces them to sell their cattle at unrealistic prices.

One unintended result has been a fall-off in investment in Argentina's traditional beef industry. Now some experts warn that by 2011 the country may need to import some of its meat.


Delhi basket 17/08/09

Basket contents: Rice (1kg); Ground flour (1kg); Lentils (1kg); Onions (1kg); Milk (1L)

Analysis: While inflation in India generally has eased considerably, the prices of some food items have continued to rise significantly.

The government says for some food products such as tea and sugar, inflation continues to remain high due to lower production, increases in the minimum support prices and growth in demand.

Prices of food items like tomatoes and potatoes that are part of the grocery list of most Indian households are rising because of erratic and low rainfall in major agricultural areas.

The government says it has already taken a number of measures to keep prices of essential commodities under control, including a selective ban on the export of some food grains.

Jakarta market

Jakarta basket 17/08/09

Basket contents: Rice (5kg); Sugar (1kg); Cooking oil (1L); Eggs (1kg); Flour (1kg)

Analysis: Food prices have stabilised somewhat in Indonesia over the last year, because of a fall in the price of oil, but food prices remain a sensitive issue.

Government figures say that Indonesia's poverty rate is about 14%.

However, according to the World Bank, almost half of Indonesia's 235 million population lives on less than two dollars a day.

Last year, hundreds took to the streets of Jakarta to protest against the soaring cost of cooking oil and rice.


Moscow basket 17/08/09

Basket contents: Eggs (10); Potatoes (1kg); Milk (carton); Bread (loaf); Beef (1kg)

Analysis: Russian food prices have soared in the last few months, outpacing rises elsewhere in Europe, according to government figures.

Food prices increased by 5.8% from January to April this year, almost 10 times higher than the the 0.6% rise in the European Union.

The biggest rises in the four-month period were seen in prices for fruit - which spiked 17% in Russia while rising only 1.9% in Europe - and sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery goods, which jumped by 12.7% and only 1.5% in Europe.

Prices for vegetables rose by 11.6%, while fish and seafood prices were up by 9.4%.

The weakness in the value of Russia's currency, the ruble, in the early part of the year has been one of the main factors in food price inflation. Because Russia imports up to 30% of its food, a weaker ruble will mean higher prices in the shops.


Nairobi basket 17/08/09

Basket contents: Maize flour (2kg); Milk (500ml); Bread (500g); Tomatoes (1kg); Green Maize (1kg)

Analysis: High food prices remain a concern in Kenya, the United Nations food agency has said it will give food aid to more than double the number of people it is currently helping in the country.

Fresh queries have emerged over the possible role that large-scale millers could be playing in keeping maize flour prices high.

In July, a study on the effects of high food prices on Kenyans, commissioned by a German NGO, concluded that the high cost of maize flour was largely due to millers and the large scale farmers who own storage and milling facilities.

There has been a debate in Kenya as to who is responsible for maintaining the high costs of flour, even after the government moved to waive duty on maize imports towards the end of 2008.

Beef burgers

Washington DC basket 17/08/09

Basket contents: Bread (0.7kg); Milk (1.89L); Potatoes (0.5kg); Beef (0.7kg); Eggs (6)

Analysis: Food prices have fallen sharply in Washington since last December. Focussing on the price of potatoes, eggs, meat, bread and milk, the prices of these goods fell on average by 17% in the past year.

However, despite the good news for consumers, the government's most recent forecast of US farm prospects suggests food makers will struggle with relatively high crop prices at least into next year.

Commodity supplies are expected to remain tight in part because the global recession and tight credit are prompting growers to plant fewer high-cost crops such as corn, wheat and cotton in favour of crops such as soybeans that don't need expensive fertilisers.

One explanation for the falling High Street prices could be that millions of Americans have lost their jobs because of the recession, so supermarkets are having to try a bit harder to attract customers.

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