World cereal production is set to increase by 7 per cent this year, to a record 2.479 million tonnes, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated Thursday, predicting it would help stabilize prices in 2013-14. Food markets are closely monitored by the Rome-based agency, as price spikes can aggravate the global hunger crisis. Some 868 million people in the world did not have enough to eat in the 2010-12 period, it reported. FAO said that food insecurity was on the rise in countries like Syria, Egypt, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia, as well as in Madagascar, due to crop damage by locusts and a cyclone, according to a report of DPA. The situation was said to be critical, but improving, in most parts of the Sahel region, thanks to a good cereal harvest last year, while in North Korea food insecurity is \"chronic,\" FAO indicated.