World food prices dropped again in March, the 11th time they dropped in the last year, with the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) saying levels were likely to fall further despite an increase in dairy prices.
The overall FAO World Food Price Index is now at its lowest level since 2009, after falling 1.5 percent compared to the previous month and 18.7 percent compared to the same month in 2014.
The main driver in the index in March was sugar prices, which slid 9.2 percent compared to February due to strong outlooks in major sugar-producing countries, especially Brazil. The weakening real, Brazil's currency, was another factor, FAO said.
Cereals and grains, the biggest component in the index, saw prices slip 1.1 percent compared to February, driven by a strong supply of corn and wheat. Rice, the other main part of the cereals and grains calculation, held steady.
Among the other components of the index, prices for fats and oils fell 3.1 percent compared to February and met prices were down 1.0 percent, though FAO said meat prices for March were based on incomplete data and might be further adjusted in the coming weeks.
The only component to rise was dairy products, which rose for the second consecutive month, jumping 1.7 percent. Whole milk and skim milk powders drove prices higher due to limit supply out of Europe and New Zealand.
The next installment of the FAO index, which is based on a basket of 55 goods and 73 price quotations in five major food commodity groups, will be released May 7.