Food price drops

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has reported that lower international quotations for main grains more than offset rising prices for meat and sugar, leading to a fall in the benchmark for world food commodity prices in February for the seventh consecutive month<<<READ FULL ARTICLE>>

The FAO Price Index, which monitors changes in the international prices of a selection of food items sold globally on a monthly basis, averaged 117.3 points in February of last year, down 10.5% from the previous month and 0.7% from January.

According to the index, conflicts and adverse weather are exacerbating hunger in the 45 countries assessed to need external assistance for food, according to the latest Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, a tri-yearly publication by FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS.

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“Conflicts in Near East Asia and in West and East Africa are driving alarmingly high levels of the most severe phase of acute food insecurity,” the report added, with very high concerns for the situation of the entire population of the Gaza Strip in Palestine.

Widespread dry weather conditions are expected to aggravate food insecurity in Southern Africa, the Index noted.

Although aggregate cereal production is expected to grow modestly this year, among the 44 Low-Income Food Deficit Countries, low output gathered in 2023 and tightening inventories have pushed up import needs for several sub-Saharan countries.

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It further noted that harvesting of cereal crops will begin next month in Southern Africa, where widespread and prolonged rainfall deficits in the El Niño weather phenomenon have curtailed production prospects.

Also, the Price Index decreased by five per cent last month to reach a level 22.4 per cent below that of February, last year.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index decreased by 1.3 per cent from January to stand 11 per cent below its February 2023 value. International soyoil prices dropped markedly, underpinned by prospects of abundant soybean outputs in South America, while ample global export availabilities of sunflower and rapeseed oils pushed their prices down. World palm oil prices rose marginally in February due to seasonally lower production.

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FAO also released its preliminary forecast for global wheat production this yea, pegging it at 797 million tonnes, a one per cent increase from 2023. Lower wheat prices have elicited a six per cent year-on-year decline in winter wheat planting in North America, where output may, nonetheless, rise due to strong yield prospects<<<READ FULL ARTICLE>>