Food prices fell by 2.8% on the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Food Price Index in March.

They dropped to an average of 171 points, although this figure is 13.4% higher than the same month in 2016.

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

FAO’s cereal index declined by 1.8% from February, led down by wheat and maize, and is now at the same level as March 2016. Worldwide cereal production for 2017 is projected to be 2,597m tonnes, which is just 9m tonnes below last year’s record level.

Dairy prices declined by 2.3%, but are still well above the levels of March last year. Cheaper grain leads to lower milk prices as most of the world’s milk is produced from grain.

Meat prices were up by 0.7%, with increased demand from Asia for beef and pigmeat.

Vegetable oil prices dropped by 6.2% on the index, with both palm and soy oil quotes lower because of higher production projections, while rape and sunflower seeds oils were down due to surplus stock availability.