World food prices jumped nearly in March to a new record high as the war in Ukraine caused turmoil in markets for staple grains and edible oils, the UN food agency said on Friday.
The Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) food price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 159.3 points last month versus an upwardly revised 146.7 for February.
The February figure was previously put at 140.7, which was a record at the time.
The FAO Cereal Price Index was 17.1 percent higher in March than in February, driven by large rises in wheat and all coarse grain prices largely as a result of the war in Ukraine.
The Russian Federation and Ukraine, combined, accounted for around 30 percent and 20 percent of global wheat and maize exports, respectively, over the past three years. World wheat prices soared by 19.7 percent during the month, exacerbated by concerns over crop conditions in the United States of America.
Meanwhile, maize prices posted a 19.1 percent month-on-month increase, hitting a record high along with those of barley and sorghum.
Contrasting trends across the various origins and qualities kept the March value of FAO’s Rice Price Index little changed from February, and thus still 10 percent below its level of a year earlier.
In another context, international donors have pledged 1.79 billion euros to help ease hunger in the Sahel and Lake Chad region this year, FAO said.
This includes an additional €67 million in humanitarian assistance announced by the European Union, bringing its total contribution for the affected countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions to €240 million in 2022 so far.