'Social explosion'

Ortega convened the ministers to take measures to address the food crisis, "before we have any possible social explosions".

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Central America depends on imported oil and fertiliser to fuel its farms. The rising cost of oil hampers the accessiblity of food to impoverished communities.

Malnutrition is common across the region, and soaring oil and grain prices threaten to exacerbate the situation.

The primary aim of the meeting was to develop a production and marketing alliance for regional farm goods.

Also attending were members of the Venezuelan-inspired Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, a trade and aid bloc known as Alba.

On Wednesday, Ortega joined the leaders of Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia in creating a $100m programme to fight rising food costs in South America.