World food prices hit historical high over Ukraine war: FAO

NEW DELHI: The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stated on Friday that world food commodity prices jumped to their highest levels ever in March, as war in the Black Sea region spread shocks through markets for staple cereals and vegetable oils.

In March, the FAO Food Price Index averaged 159.3 points, up 12.6 percent from February, when it had already surpassed its highest level since 1990.

The Index analyses monthly changes in a basket of regularly traded food items' international prices. The index was 33.6 percent higher in March 2021 than it was in March 2021.

The FAO Cereal Price Index rose 17.1 percent in March compared to February, owing to huge increases in wheat and all coarse grain prices, mostly due to the conflict in Ukraine.

Over the last three years, Russia and Ukraine have accounted for roughly 30 percent and 20 percent of world wheat and maize exports, respectively. Worries over crop conditions in the United States contributed to a 19.7 percent increase in world wheat prices this month.

Meanwhile, maize, barley, and sorghum prices all rose 19.1 percent month over month, reaching new highs. The March value of the FAO's Rice Price Index was barely changed from February, and so still 10 percent below the level of a year ago, due to divergent trends across origins and quality.

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