World food prices rose by one percent in June, the UN's food agency said on Thursday.

"A strong rise in international sugar prices" was behind much of the increase, the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation said in a statement.

The agency said that its index of food prices rose to 234 points in June, 39 percent higher than in June 2010 but below the all-time high level of 238 points in February this year.

The FAO Sugar Price Index rose 14 percent from May to June and "production in Brazil, the world's biggest sugar producer, is forecast to fall below last year's level," it said.

The FAO Cereal Price index averaged 259 points in June, down one percent from May in part due to "improved weather conditions in Europe and the announced lifting of the Russian Federation's export ban," it added.

However the agency warned that the maize market "remained tight" because of "low 2010 supplies and continued wet conditions in the United States."

Prices of rice were mostly up in June, "reflecting strong import demand and uncertainty over export prices in Thailand, the world's largest rice exporter."

The FAO Dairy price Index averaged 232 points in June, virtually unchanged from 231 points in May.

The FAO Meat Price Index averaged 180, marginally up from May. Poultry meat prices rose three percent and climbed to a new record, while pig meat prices dropped somewhat, the agency said.

Following revisions to the US crops and planting prospects for 2011, FAO's latest forecast for world cereal production in 2011/2012 was nearly 3.3 percent up on last year and 11 million tons above FAO's last forecast on 22 June.

"While wheat and rice inventories are expected to become more comfortable, coarse grains stocks, especially maize, would remain tight," it forecast.