World food prices soared by 28% in 2021 compared to the previous year, per the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN.
The FAO Food Price index examines monthly variations in the global prices of commonly-traded food products.
Although December marked the first decline in prices in four months, the FAO noted that overall 2021 had the largest average grain prices in a decade.
The FAO Food Market Price for 2021 averaged 125.7 points, which is 28.1% higher than the previous year.
The index averaged 133.7 pts in December, a 0.9% decline from November and that was still up 23.1% on December 2020.
The December decline was attributable to a large fall in worldwide prices for vegetable oils, sugar; just one dairy sub-index increased past 30 days.
In 2021, the cereal price index hit its highest level since 2012 and was 27% higher than 2020.
Maize was up 44% and wheat soared by almost a third, but the rice was down by 4%.
Vegetable oil costs reached a record high last year, climbing roughly 66% compared to 2020.
However, the FAO reported that the index declined by 3.3%in December due to poorer quotations for palm oil and sunflower oil; it stated this may be linked to concerns regarding the impact of a surge in Covid-19 infections.
Sugar rose to its highest cost since 2016, surging nearly 30% on 2020 prices.
Meat costs were approximately 13% higher than in 2020 and the dairy price index grew by almost 17% in a year.
The FAO has also cautioned that the food price index is anticipated to remain unpredictable over the coming 12 months.
“While usually high prices are expected to give manner to increased production, the high cost of raw material, ongoing global crisis, and ever more uncertain weather conditions leave little room for optimism about a return to more stable market dynamics even in 2022,” Abdolreza Abbassian FAO senior economist said.