PARIS: Global food prices rose by 8.2 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016, the UN’s food agency said . The Food and Agriculture Organization said that its FAO Food Price Index averaged 174.6 points in 2017, the highest annual average since 2014. In December alone, however, the index — a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities — stood at 169.8 points, down 3.3 per cent from November, the FAO said in a statement. The month-on-month decline was “led by sharp decreases for vegetable oils and dairy products,” it said. Nevertheless, across the whole of the year, the prices of all categories of foodstuffs, except sugar, rose. The subindex for dairy products rose the fastest, climbing by 31.5 per cent year-on-year. The price index for vegetable oils rose by three per cent, cereal prices were up by 3.2 per cent and meat prices climbed by nine per cent from 2016 levels. Sugar prices, by contrast, declined by an average 11.2 per cent in 2017 from 2016, “due largely to a bumper harvest in Brazil, the world’s leading producer,” the FAO explained.