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(Photo courtesy of Fred Miller | CC BY 2.0)

UN says global food prices declined from 2022 highs

Global food prices declined in 2023 after record highs in 2022, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reported Friday.

The FAO Food Price Index, a measure of monthly shifts in the global cost of common food commodities, was just over 10% lower in December 2023 than in December 2022.

Food prices spiked in early 2022 due to a mix of factors, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, droughts and El Niño. These issues were further compounded by limits on food exports by major suppliers such as India and Myanmar, two of the world’s largest exporters of rice, in response to shortages.

The 2022 food price inflation began to ease over the summer of that year, with the overall downward trend continuing through 2023. Vegetable oils saw the largest decrease, at a 32% decrease from 2022 prices.

However, certain commodities such as rice and sugar still saw historic highs for 2023. The FAO Sugar Index saw its highest spike since 2011 due to dry weather in India and Thailand hampering crop output, though it fell over 16% from November to December due to the “strong pace of production in Brazil.” The FAO’s rice index increased by 21% in 2023 despite an overall 15% drop for grains from 2022 levels. The FAO attributed the continued rice inflation to India’s continued export restrictions and shortages in Vietnam.
Further, the overall drop in prices has reportedly struggled to reach individual buyers and shopkeepers.


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