The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s new monthly food prices index, released on Friday, rose 12.6 percent to reach 159.3 points in March, compared to a baseline of 100 points for the average in 2014-2016 (adjusted for inflation.)
The FAO’s Food Price Index is based on worldwide prices for 23 food commodity categories, covering prices for 73 different products compared to a baseline year.
New total is by far the highest in the history of the FAO index, which was launched in its current form in 1990.
Globa food commodity prices spiked significantly in March to reach their highest levels, as Russia’s aggression in Ukraine continues to drive energy costs up and cause supply chain slowdowns.
All of the five sub-categories in the FAO index surged, with prices for grains and cereals — the largest component in the index — climbing a stunning 17.1 percent.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization said the main factor behind this rise is that Russia and Ukraine are both major producers of wheat and coarse grains, and prices for these have soared due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Concerns over crop conditions in the United States were also a factor, FAO said.
Rice prices, meanwhile, were mostly unchanged compared to February.
Prices for vegetable oils soared 23.2 percent because of the rising transportation costs and reduced exports, again due to Russian aggression in Ukraine.
The other sub-indexes were all higher but rose less dramatically.
Dairy prices were 2.6 percent higher, meat prices climbed 4.8 percent, and sugar prices by 6.7 percent.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and related issues were also factors behind these price rises, said the FAO.