Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has ordered local governments to crack down on food merchants who intentionally contributed to food-price inflation, the South China Morning Post reported. "Some businessmen have collaborated with each other and deliberately pushed up the prices," he said Saturday while inspecting a market in Beijing. "This has disrupted the market mechanism and damaged the public's interests." He told local governments to launch investigations and punish price manipulators. Wen also announced central government aid for agriculture and animal husbandry to shore up depleted supplies. Rising food prices have contributed to inflation hitting a three-year high of 4.4% in this year's second quarter.