Global food prices jumped nearly 13% to a record high in March as the war in Ukraine strained the world's grain and edible oils supply, the United Nations announced Friday.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in international prices for the most commonly traded food commodities, rose 12.7% to 159.3 points from February's previous record of 141.4.

The numbers for March are the highest since the index was created in 1990.

The bulk of the rise was attributed to the surrounding uncertainty in Ukraine. The FAO said the conflict was responsible for the 17.1% rise in the price of grains, which includes wheat, oats, barley, and corn.


Russia and Ukraine account for 30% of global wheat exports and 20% of corn exports, respectively. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Josef Schmidhuber, deputy director of FAO's markets and trade division, called the jump in prices "really remarkable," adding that the rapid rise for food required "urgent action."

"There is, of course, a massive supply disruption, and that massive supply disruption from the Black Sea region has fueled prices for vegetable oil," he told reporters.

However, Russia and Ukraine were not the only countries to shoulder the blame.

Fears over American supply and crop conditions have also contributed to the nearly 20% rise in wheat prices month to month, the FAO said.

Vegetable oil prices spiked 23.2% from February. Dairy prices also rose 2.6%, sugar prices rose 6.7%, and meat prices jumped 4.8%

Price hikes and supply scantiness have threatened food shortages in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Some of the nations in those areas rely on affordable grain and wheat from the Black Sea region to feed millions of people.


In the Sahel region of Central and West Africa, rising prices have hit an existing food shortage brought on by COVID-19, bad weather, and other structural issues, the FAO said.