Global food prices jumped to their highest level in nearly a decade in May, soaring by 40 percent from a year ago, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said Thursday.
The FAO's food price index has now risen for 12 consecutive months to reach its highest value since September 2011, driven by the higher costs of vegetable oils, sugar and cereals.
Prices rose by 4.8 percent from April -- the fastest month-on-month gain since October 2010 -- and by nearly 40 percent compared to May 2020.
The index stood at 127.1 points in May, only 7.6 percent from its peak value in February 2011, the FAO said.
The sharp rise in food prices also comes as the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown millions out of work, adding to food security fears that are already high due to conflicts and climate change.
The FAO noted that cereals prices rose "even as world cereal production is on course to reach a new record high."
In a separate report, the FAO said it expects a 1.9 percent increase in cereals production this year to a record 2.82 million tonnes.
Despite the increase, it said the global ratio of food stocks to use is expected to decline to 28.1 percent.