Global food prices down for 12th month running in March – FAO

World food prices are still too high but have dropped by a fifth compared to a year ago as prices soared to a monthly record high after Russia invaded agricultural powerhouse Ukraine.

Prices have fallen 20.5% since March 2022 after a 12th straight monthly drop, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

The fall was aided by international wheat prices sliding 7.1%, notably on strong Australian output and improved crop conditions in EU states but also high Russian supplies and “ongoing exports from Ukraine from its Black Sea ports”.

The FAO index averaged 126.9 points, down 2.1% from the end of February and down by 20.5% since March 2022.

FAO chief economist Maximo Torero said, however, prices remained “very high and continue to increase in domestic markets, posing additional challenges to food security… particularly so in net food importing developing countries,” struggling additionally with weak currencies.

In March, grain prices dropped by 5.6% and vegetable oil prices by 3%. However, sugar prices rose by 1.5% on fears associated with a drop in production projections in India, Thailand and China.

The UN agency added: “A mix of ample supplies, subdued import demand and the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative contributed to the drop.”

A deal negotiated by Turkey and the United Nations allows Ukraine – one of the world’s top grain producers – to export grain through a safe corridor in the Black Sea.