Global food prices hit their highest levels in six and a half years, reports the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The FAO index rose from 108.6 in December to 113.3 in January.
China is stockpiling grain while Argentina stopped corn exports until Feb. 28 and Russia began taxing exports of wheat, barley and corn.
The World Bank said in December that declining incomes and COVID-19 food-supply disruptions have increased poverty and hunger.
The FAO said global grain production last year set a record, but that was offset by China’s increasing purchases, sending the cereal price index up by 42.3 per cent over January last year.
The vegetable oil price index increased 5.8 percent to its highest level since May 2012, driven in part by lower-than-expected palm oil production in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Soybean oil prices were pushed higher by prolonged strikes in Argentina.
Dairy prices rose 1.6 percent as China shopped before the upcoming New Year holiday.
The meat index gained per cent from December to January, led by brisk imports of poultry, especially from Brazil, amid avian influenza outbreaks that have hampered exports from several European countries.