Source: Robert Besser

WASHINGTON D.C.: Led by February’s surging costs of dairy and vegetable oils, world food prices have reached record highs.

On March 5, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, which tracks the prices of food staples, reported a 20.7 percent yearly increase in food costs.

“The price increases can partly be blamed on crop conditions and reduced export availability. However, increases in other commodity costs also played a role,” said FAO economist Upali Galketi Aratchilage.

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“A much bigger push for food price inflation comes from outside food production, particularly the energy, fertilizer and feed sectors. All these factors tend to squeeze profit margins of food producers, discouraging them from investing and expanding production,” he added.

The data was compiled before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which could push prices even higher, as the two countries make up some 80 percent of sunflower oil exports.