The EU has said it will almost double the money available for emergency food aid in the European Development Fund’s budget.

Brussels has boosted the EDF’s budget from EUR650m to EUR1.2bn following food riots in Africa.

Unrest has wracked Egypt this week over basic food prices doubling in 12 months. Food riots have also struck Cameroon, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, and Mauritania recently.

The UN has blamed increasing biofuel production, demand for food from China and India, and weak harvests for both price rises and food shortages.

EU development Commissioner Louis Michel said: “A global food crisis is becoming apparent…with the potential effect of a real economic and humanitarian tsunami in Africa.”

The news comes as the World Bank cautioned that higher food prices would persist.

The World Bank has told the world’s richest countries attending the G8 meetings that food prices are set to stay high in 2008 and 2009, and then decline as supply and demand respond to high prices.