Rising prices for meat and dairy kept food prices stable in August despite an 8.5% fall in sugar new figures from the UNFAO show.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Food Price Index averaged 213 last month.

Sugar prices fell to 297 points in August, caused by improved forecasts from Brazil – the world’s largest sugar exporter.

However, meat prices climbed 2.2% last month – compared to July figures - largely caused by the grain-intensive pig and poultry sectors, the UNFAO said.

Dairy prices also showed a 1.6% uplift on July, caused by increases in skimmed and whole milk powder, casein and butter. “Much of the recent strength stems from the firming demand combined with production constraints in areas affected by drought and rising feed costs,” the UNFAO added.

Calling the figures “reassuring”, director-general José Graziano da Silva said although there was a need for vigilance, current prices did not justify talk of a world food crisis. The international community should, however, “move to calm markets further.”

The 213 figure for August is 25 index points below its peak of 238 in February last year and 18 points below last August 2011 levels.

The FAO Food Price Index measures the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities.