The prices of some food and food products such as grain and vegetable oils climbed last month to record highs, the United Nations said Friday.
The international body attributes the higher costs – amid worldwide inflation on most all consumer goods – to Russia’s war in Ukraine and its related “massive supply disruptions.”
Russia and Ukraine combined account for roughly 30% and 20% of global wheat and corn exports, respectively.
The report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization also raises further concerns about a potential food shortage in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere that could result in hunger and malnourishment for millions of people.
The group said its Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in international prices for a basket of commodities, averaged 159.3 points last month, up 12.6% from February.
The February index was the highest level since its inception in 1990, according to the Associated Press.
The group said the war in Ukraine was largely responsible for the 17.1% increase in prices for grain, which includes wheat, oats, barley and corn.
The biggest price increases were for vegetable oils: that price index rose 23.2%, driven by higher quotations for sunflower seed oil that is used for cooking. Ukraine is the world’s leading exporter of sunflower oil, and Russia is No. 2, the wire service also reports.