The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported that in April, international prices of basic food products rose for the first time in a year due to the increase in world quotations of sugar, meat, and rice. The FAO food price index, which tracks monthly changes in international prices of the most traded food commodities, averaged 127.2 points in April, up 0.6% from March. The index is 19.7% lower than last year but represents an increase of 5.2% compared to April 2021.
The price rise was due to a 17.6% increase in the sugar price index since March, reaching its highest level since October 2011. The rise was due to reduced output and production expectations in India, China, Thailand, and the European Union, caused by dry weather conditions, as well as a slow start to the sugarcane harvest in Brazil. The meat price index rose by 1.3% compared to March, while those of other major food commodity categories, with the exception of rice, maintained their downward trend.
Maximo Torero, FAO chief economist, said that the rise in rice prices is extremely worrying and that it is essential that the Black Sea initiative be renewed to avoid further spikes in wheat and maize. The pact for the transport of grain from Black Sea ports was reached in July last year between Russia and Ukraine with the mediation of the UN and Turkey. The agreement was intended to help resume grain shipments from Ukrainian ports and was already extended once, but it will expire on May 18, and there is uncertainty about its renewal prospects.