Pushed by higher energy and fertilizer prices stemming from the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, global food prices were 14.3 percent higher in 2022 than a year earlier, the Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Friday (Jan 6, 2023).
In 2022, the FAO's sub-indexes show cereal prices are up by 17.9 percent from 2021, vegetable oil prices are up by 13.9 percent, dairy prices are up by 19.6 percent, meat prices are up by 10.4 percent, and sugar prices are up by 4.7 percent.
In December 2022, FAO's Food Price Index fell 1.9 percent to the previous month, registering its ninth consecutive monthly decline. But the index rose so sharply during the first months of the year that it concluded 2022 far above the 2021 average.
The decline in December was largely a function of markets adjusting to distribution disruptions, higher prices for transport, and lower levels of demand stemming from slower global economic growth.
Month-on-month in December, prices for grains and cereals, the largest component in the broad index, were 1.9 percent lower, meat prices were 1.2 percent lower, prices for vegetable oils were down 6.7 percent, dairy prices were 1.1 percent higher, and sugar prices were 2.4 percent higher.
The FAO has repeatedly warned that rising food prices threatened global food security, particularly in poor countries. "It is important to remain vigilant and keep a strong focus on mitigating global food insecurity given that world food prices remain at elevated levels, with many staples near record highs, and with prices of rice increasing, and still many risks associated with future supplies," FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero said in a press release.
The Food Price Index is based on worldwide prices for 23 food commodity categories covering prices for 73 different products compared to a baseline year. The next FAO index is scheduled to be released on Feb. 3, 2023.