World food prices jumped 2.3 percent in March, the Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Thursday.
Prices for grains and cereals -- the largest single component in the index -- rose 5.2 percent, as a result of bad weather in the United States, Brazil and political tensions in the Black Sea region, said FAO in its World Food Outlook.
It was the second consecutive monthly rise of at least two percent following half a year of relative stability.
Rice prices, which rose in February, held steady in March.
Among other commodity groups, prices for fats and oils rose 4.5 percent because of dry weather that limited the production of palm oil from Asia, while meats rose 1.5 percent and sugars increased 7.9 percent, again because of bad weather in Brazil and Thailand.
Dairy prices, however, fell 2.5 percent in March due to strong production in New Zealand, and lower demand from China.
FAO said its overall World Food Price Index, now at 212.8, is at its highest level since May 2013.
FAO's World Food Outlook is based on a basket of 55 goods and 73 price quotations in five major food commodity groups.
The next installment of the FAO World Food Price Index will be released on May 8.