Food prices continued to rise in April, barely easing from record highs in March, and challenged food security as market tightness continued, according to UN agencies.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Said The food price index, which tracks the world’s most traded commodities, made a “huge leap” of 18.6 points in March, reaching a record high of 159.7 points and then declining 1.2 points in April.
“A slight decline in the index is a welcome bailout, especially for low-income food-deficient countries, but food prices remain close to recent highs, reflecting the persistent market tightness and are the most vulnerable. It poses a challenge to people’s global food security. FAO Chief Economist Máximo Torero Cullen said in a statement.
The slight decline in the food index was caused by a sharp decline in vegetable oil prices and a gradual decline in grain prices.
FAO’s vegetable oil price index fell 14.3 points (5.7%) from its March record high. This decline is due to lower prices for coconut oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil.
According to FAO, prices for dairy products, meat and sugar all rose from March to April.
Meanwhile, food shortages hit a record high in April, according to S & P Global data.
Deterioration of food security
According to FAO, the continued blockade of Ukrainian ports was a factor in keeping grain prices rising, but the April index fell 0.7 points, coupled with higher-than-expected exports and lower demand from Russia and India. bottom.
The March grain price index surged 17.1% in March, reaching a record high of 170.1 points, making FAO part of the cause of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
The war in Ukraine disrupted trade flows in the Black Sea region, and Russia and Ukraine were both net exporters of some major grains such as wheat, corn and barley, which had a major impact on food supply. rice field.
Even before the outbreak of the war, food prices were record high due to factors such as pandemic-related supply chain disruptions and post-blocking demand recovery.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine exacerbated these inflationary pressures.
“The current conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation increases the risk of further exacerbation of food insecurity at the global level,” FAO said in a recent food insecurity assessment.pdf).
According to the AMIS Market Monitor, Russia and Ukraine are major food exporters, which jointly account for about 30% of wheat exports and about 80% of sunflower seed product trade ().pdf).
Aid agencies warn that the turmoil in Ukraine’s food exports means that countries that are heavily dependent on Ukraine’s food exports, such as China, Egypt, Turkey and Indonesia, will find alternatives or face food shortages. I am.