Global food prices hit a three-year high in 2020, a UN food agency said Thursday.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said the food price index rose 3.1% year-on-year in 2020, averaging 97.9 – 2.9 points higher than 2019.

The FAO Food Price Index also soared 2.2% on a monthly basis, averaging 107.5 last month, driven by jumps in prices of vegetable oils, dairy products, meat and cereals, said the agency.

The vegetable oil price index in December increased by 4.7% from the previous month, reaching the highest level since September 2012.

“December’s continued strength was mainly driven by firming palm oil values, while those of soy, rapeseed, and sunflower seed oil also increased. International palm oil prices rose due to lingering supply tightness in major producing countries,” it said.

Dairy products climbed 3.2 % month-on-month in December, prompted by strong global import demand and concerns over the adverse impacts of drier and warmer weather conditions on Oceania’s milk production.

The meat price index posted a monthly rise of 1.7% in December, the FAO noted.

Cereal prices in December also were up 1.1% from November.

The sugar price index averaged 87.0 points in December, retreating slightly 0.5 points from the marked increase recorded in November.

The FAO Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index that tracks international market prices of five major food commodity groups.

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