War and drought drove global food prices to record high in 2022


Global prices for food staples such as grains. And vegetable oil were at record high last year, even after nine straight months of decline. The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization said. As Russia’s war in Ukraine, drought and other factors pushed up and worsened inflation. Global hunger.

The FAO food price index. Which tracks monthly changes in international prices of traded. Food commodities, fell 1.9% in December from a month earlier, the Rome-based agency said on Friday.

For the full year, it averaged 143.7 points, 14% high than the average for 2021, which also saw a big increase.

December’s decline was led by vegetable oil prices falling amid import demand. Expectations of rising soybean oil production in South America and lower crude oil prices. Cereals and meat were also down, while dairy and sugar rose .

“The calm food commodity prices are welcome after two very volatile years.” FAO chief economist Maximo Torero said in a prepared statement. “World food prices remain at high levels. And with rising rice prices and many risks associated with future supply. It is important to remain vigilant and focus on mitigating global food insecurity as global food prices remain at high levels. ”

Last year, the UN agency’s food price index reached. Its highest level since records began in 1961, according to FAO data.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February exacerbated the food crisis. As the two countries are leading global suppliers of wheat. Barley, sunflower oil and other commodities, Particularly in parts of Africa. The Middle East and Asia already struggling with hunger.

As supplies from the Black Sea are disrupted. Food prices have risen to record highs, fueling inflation, poverty. And food insecurity in developing countries that depend on imports.

The war also hit fuel markets and fertilizer supplies, both of which are key to food production. This was on top of climate shocks that fueled famine in places like the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya have been hit by the worst drought in decades. With the UN warning that parts of Somalia are facing famine. Thousands of people have already died.

Wheat and maize prices hit record highs last year. Although prices for other crops fell in December, the FAO said. It said the supply of crops in the southern hemisphere has increased. And there is strong competition among exporters.

The agency’s vegetable oil price index hit an all-time high last year. Even as it fell to its lowest level since February 2021 in December. Forallf 2022, the FAO Dairy Price Index and Meat Price Index were also the highest since 1990.

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