Food inflation reverses 3-week decline

New Delhi: Reversing a three-week declining trend, food inflation shot up to 8.74 per cent for the week ended April 9 from 8.28 per cent in the previous week on account of expensive fruits, protein-based items and onions, according to the official data released on Thursday.

The surge from the last week, which was incidentally the lowest in a-year-and-half, is likely to put more pressure on the government looking bewildered after the overall inflation for March overshot its forecast of 8 per cent. Headline inflation last month was recorded at 8.98 per cent.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said persistent inflation, especially in the food sector, had become a cause for concern.

While calling for increasing productivity and production in the agriculture sector, he said, "The needs of a growing and increasingly more prosperous population can only be met by enhanced production of a diversified basket of agricultural products."

Singh`s grave concern stems from what appears to be an embedded spike in prices of fruits and protein-based items including egg, meat and fish.

During the week under review, fruits became dearer by 25.25 per cent on year-on-year, while egg, meat and fish were 14.96 per cent more expensive.

Cereals` prices went up by 4.48 per cent on an annual basis and, rice and wheat became expensive by 2.08 per cent and 1.31 per cent, respectively.

Onions became expensive by 8.28 per cent year-on-year.

Vegetables overall became dearer by 1.53 per cent. Potatoes were up by 1.21 per cent. Milk became expensive by 4.05 per cent on an annual basis.

Pulses, however, bucked the trend and witnessed a decline of 5.67 per cent.

During the week under review, non-food articles were up by 27.69 per cent year-on-year. Fuel and power became dearer by 13.05 per cent, while petrol was up 21.81 per cent.