World wheat production this year will be the second highest on record, according to latest forecasts from the UNFAO.

The UNFAO predicted a total harvest of 690 million tonnes in 2012, 10 million tonnes up, or 1.4%, on last year’s record harvest, in its Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, published this morning. The expected 2012 crop would be well above the average of the past five years, it added.

Despite the positive outlook, the UNFAO reported a “firming” of international cereal prices in recent weeks due to tightening current wheat supplies and concerns over the impact of severe weather in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The forcast on wheat comes as the UNFAO also published its latest Food Price Index this morning, which revealed that food prices had risen 1%, or 2.4 points in February, compared to January.

The increase had been “mostly driven by higher prices of sugar, oils and cereals while dairy prices fell slightly after a marked rise in January,” the UNFAO said.