Food prices worldwide reach record high in February: UN agency

Food prices worldwide reach record high in February: UN agency
Food prices have increased on a global scale in February this year, according to a report conducted by The Food and Agriculture Organisastion, which said that Russia's invasion of Ukraine was likely to impact grain exports by the end of 2022.

2 min read
05 March, 2022
Food prices have reached a record high globally, according to the UN-affilaited Food and Agriculture Organisation [Getty]

World food prices have experienced a record surge in February, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FOA) has said in a statement on Friday.

The FAO, which specialises in efforts to end hunger and improve nutrition and food security, said that its food price index averaged 140.7 points in February, rising by 3.9 percent from January, and accounting for the significant increase of 20.7 percent since last year.

Higher food prices have contributed to a wider surge in inflation as world economies continue to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Reuters.

The FAO has also warned that rising food prices are pushing poorer populations, especially those are import-dependent, to an even greater risk of food insecurity.

The UN-affiliated agency said the price increase was mostly driven by dairy products and vegetable oil.

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The dairy price index averaged 6.4 percent higher in February than it did from the previous month, while the vegetable oil index rose to 8.5 percent from January, and was mostly driven by an increased demand for palm, soy and sunflower oils. Ukraine and Russia account for about 80% of global exports of sunflower oil.

Data for the February report was mostly complied before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, reported Reuters. The FAO also issued a predictive report for 2022, which is likely to be affected by Moscow’s aggression on Kyiv, concerning grain exports in particular.

Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, amongst others, are likely to be impacted by looming bread crisis due to being import-reliant on both Ukraine and Russia for wheat.

Last year, both FAO and the UN’s World Food Programme warned that Yemen, Syria and Lebanon were at a dire risk of acute food insecurity issues, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, significant conflict and socio-economic crises.

In Syria, 12 million people are food insecure, as well as 80 percent of Yemen's 30 million population. Meanwhile, three quarters of Lebanon's population is currently living below the poverty line, according to The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia.