Global food prices surged 28% in 2021 to their highest level in a decade, U.N.'s food agency said last Thursday.
The Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) food price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 125.7 points in 2021, the highest level since 131.9 in 2011.
The FAO stated that hopes for a return to more stable market conditions this year are low.
"While normally high prices are expected to give way to increased production, the high cost of inputs, ongoing global pandemic and ever more uncertain climatic conditions leave little room for optimism about a return to more stable market conditions even in 2022," FAO Senior Economist Abdolreza Abbassian said in the statement.
The monthly index eased slightly in December as international prices for vegetable oils and sugar fell significantly. It averaged 133.7 points in December, a 0.9% decline from November but still up 23.1% from December 2020.
The FAO Cereal Price Index reached its highest annual level since 2012 and averaged 27.2% higher than in 2020, with maize up 44.1%, wheat up 31.3%, but rice down by 4.0%.
For 2021 as a whole, the FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index reached an all-time high level, increasing 65.8% from 2020. At the same time, the world sugar price increased by 29.8% from 2020 to its highest level since 2016.
The average meat and dairy prices in 2021 saw a 12.7% and 16.9% increases, respectively, from 2020 levels.
FAO and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in a report released on July said the prices of major food commodities are expected to ease in the coming decade as demand growth slows and output rises.