World food prices rose for a 10th consecutive month in March, hitting their highest level since June 2014, led by jumps in vegetable oils, meat and dairy indices, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday. The Food and Agriculture Organization's food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 118.5 points last month versus a slightly revised 116.1 in February. The Rome-based FAO also said in a statement that worldwide cereal harvests remained on course to hit an annual record in 2020, adding that early indications pointed to a further increase in production this year.
Tom Wright’s family grew sugar beet on their mixed farm near Moulton St Mary in Norfolk for more than a century, but this year they have planted none. After extreme weather and disease ravaged the 2020 crop, some farmers have given up beet growing and others cut back, leading the National Farmers’ Union to predict a fall of 10 per cent to 15 per cent in the area planted in 2021 and warn of potential further cuts in future. The British sugar beet sector, which produces more than half the sugar consumed in the UK, has also been hit by pricing pressures in part due to EU deregulation four years ago.
Indian sugar mills' output rose by nearly a fifth year on year to 27.76 million tonnes in the first six months of the 2020/21 marketing year as production jumped in Maharashtra, a trade body said on Thursday. The country is the world's second-biggest sugar producer and the higher output could weigh on global prices,. More than half of the sugar mills closed operations by the end of March, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said in a statement.