The UN Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) said the high prices of grain like corn, wheat and rice in Latin America will result in an increase of the number of the poor, local media reported Sunday.
"This represents a dramatic situation for many people," Jose Luis Machinea, the ECLA executive secretary told "Panama America" daily.
A 15-percent price hike caused the number of indigents to rise by over 3 percent from 12.7 to 15.9 percent and will result in 15.7 million more indigents in Latin America.
The ECLA said the high prices of grain will "come to stay" and it is necessary to prompt medium and long term proposals to increase grain production and supply.
The prices of food and beverage in Panama increased by 15 percent in the one-year period from March 2007 to March 2008.
The cost of living in the populous neighborhoods of Panama and San Miguelito increased by 1.1 percent while the rest cities increased by 1.4 percent.
(Xinhua News Agency April 21, 2008)