Global food prices hit record levels over Russia - Ukraine conflict
World food prices jumped nearly 13% in March to a new record high as Russia’s war with Ukraine caused turmoil in food markets, the U.N. food agency said on Friday.
The Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) food price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 159.3 points last month versus an upwardly revised 141.4 for February.
The February figure was previously put at 140.7, which was a record at the time.
Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of wheat, corn, barley and sunflower oil via the Black Sea, and Moscow's war with its neighbour has stalled Ukrainian exports.
The FAO last month said food and feed prices could rise by up to 20% as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, raising the risk of increased malnutrition.
The agency's cereal price index climbed 17% in March to a record level while its vegetable oil index surged 23%, also registering its highest reading yet, FAO said.
Disruption to supplies of crops from the Black Sea region has exacerbated price rises in food commodities, which were already running at 10-year highs in the FAO's index before the war in Ukraine due to global harvest issues.
Sugar and dairy prices also rose sharply last month, the FAO said.
In separate cereal supply and demand estimates on Friday, the FAO cut its projection of world wheat production in 2022 to 784 million tonnes, from 790 million last month, as it factored in the possibility that at least 20% of Ukraine's winter crop area would not be harvested.
Reuters and news agencies