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Global food prices in 2022 hit record high amid drought, war : NPR


Children stand near shelters at a camp for displaced people on the outskirts of Dollow, Somalia, on September 19, 2022.

Jerome Delay/AP File


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Jerome Delay/AP File


Children stand near shelters at a camp for displaced people on the outskirts of Dollow, Somalia, on September 19, 2022.

Jerome Delay/AP File

ROME – Global prices for food commodities such as grains and vegetable oils hit record highs last year even after falling for nine straight months, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said. Russia’s War in UkraineDrought and other factors have increased inflation and exacerbated hunger worldwide.

The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly traded food commodities, fell 1.9% in December from a month earlier, the organization said. based in Rome said Friday. For the full year, it averaged 143.7 points, 14% higher than the 2021 average, which is also a big increase.

The decline in December was caused by a drop in vegetable oil prices amid falling import demand, rising soybean oil production expectations in South America and falling crude oil prices. Grains and meat also decreased, while milk and sugar increased slightly.

FAO chief economist Maximo Torero said in a prepared statement: “Softer food commodity prices are welcome after two very volatile years. “It is important to maintain vigilance and a strong focus on mitigating global food insecurity as world food prices remain high, with many staples close to reaching record highs, rice prices are up and there are still many risks related to future supply.”

Last year, the United Nations Food Price Index hit its highest level since its records began in 1961, according to FAO data.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February exacerbated the food crisis as the two countries are the world’s top suppliers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other products, in particular. is for countries in certain areas of Africa, the Middle East and Asia that are struggling with hunger.

With vital supplies in the Black Sea disrupted, food prices rose to record highs, fueling inflation, poverty and food insecurity in import-dependent developing nations.

The war also rocked energy markets and fertilizer supplies, both vital to food production. That’s on top of climate shocks that have caused famine in places like the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya have been hit hard by their worst drought in decades, with the United Nations warning that parts of Somalia are facing famine. Thousands of people died.

The FAO said wheat and corn prices hit record highs last year, although they fell in December along with prices of other grains. It said the Southern Hemisphere harvests have boosted supply and there is strong competition among exporters.

The institution’s Vegetable Oil Price Index hit an all-time high last year, even as the index fell in December to its lowest level since February 2021. For all of 2022, the index fell to its lowest level since February 2021. Dairy prices and the FAO Meat Price Index are also the highest since 1990.

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