Global food prices have been declining for the last 4 years, despite an overall rise since 2000.

The FAO Food Price Index is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities. It consists of the average of five commodity group price indices (meat, dairy, cereals, vegetable oils and sugar), weighted with the average export shares of each of the groups for 2002-2004.

The following line graph shows the yearly average price for 2000-2015 (latest available figure is from September 2015).

1510B18-food prices change 2000 2015

Following an initial rise between 2000 and 2008, from 91.1 to 201.4, there is a significant drop in 2009, down to 160.3. The food price index peaks in 2011 at 229.9, before declining again over the past four years.

The FAO attributes the declining price of food globally to high inventory levels, lower oil prices and the renewed strength of the US dollar. They believe none of these factors are likely to be reversed in the short term, and so lower prices are likely to continue – barring shocks, such as poor harvests.

Monitoring and analysing food prices is vital for food security and for tackling and preventing famine, malnutrition and undernourishment. To increase awareness of global food production and scarcity, 16 October is World Food Day, a Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) event.

To keep up with the Agenda subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Author: Joe Myers is a Digital Content Producer at Formative Content.

Image: A wheat field is pictured near Bucharest June 17, 2008. REUTERS/Mihai Barbu