World food prices fell slightly in April after hitting a record high in March, but global food security remained an issue amid difficult market conditions, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Administration said on Friday.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index, which tracks the world’s most traded groceries, averaged 158.5 points last month from an upwardly revised reading of 159.7 for March.
The March number was previously set at 159.3.
“The slight decline in the index is welcome relief, particularly for low-income and food-deficit countries, but food prices still remain close to recent highs, reflecting ongoing market shortages and posing a challenge to global food security for the most vulnerable. said FAO chief economist Maximo Torero Cullen.
Although declining month-on-month, the April index was up 29.8 percent year-on-year, buoyed in part by concerns about the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The agency’s grain price index fell 0.7 percent in April after rising 17 percent in March.
While corn prices fell 3 percent, wheat prices rose 0.2 percent.
The FAO said wheat has been affected by the blockade of ports in Ukraine and concerns over harvest conditions in the United States, but those concerns have been partially offset by larger shipments from India and better-than-expected exports from Russia.
The FAO vegetable oil price index fell 5.7 percent in April as demand rationing pushed down palm, sunflower and soybean oil prices. Sugar prices increased by 3.3 percent, the meat price index by 2.2 percent and the milk price index by 0.9 percent.
In separate estimates of grain supply and demand on Friday, the FAO slightly lowered its forecast for global wheat production in 2022 to 782 million tons from 784 million tons last month.
The forecast included an expected 20 percent reduction in harvested area in Ukraine and a projected fall in production in Morocco due to a drought in the North African country.
With almost all crops harvested, the FAO forecast for world grain production for 2021 remained unchanged at 2.799 billion tonnes, 0.8 percent above 2020 levels.
The agency slightly raised its forecast for global grain trade in marketing year 2021/22 to 473 million tonnes, up 3.7 million tonnes from last month’s forecast but 1.2 percent below the record 2020/21 level.
FAO said the upward revision reflected stronger exports from Russia based on continued shipments in April, mainly to Egypt, Iran and Turkey.
The FAO warned in March that food and feed prices could rise by up to 20 percent as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, raising the risk of increased malnutrition.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/food-prices-ease-slightly-in-april-after-record-surge-un-agency-says-41620465.html Food prices fall slightly in April after a record rise, the UN agency says