(NEW YORK) -- Global food prices fell for the first time in eight months, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization.
While the index averaged 37 percent above prices in March of last year, the March 2011 index averaged 230 points -- down 2.9 percent from February's peak prices.
The FAO says oil (down 7 percent after nine months of increases) and sugar (down 10 percent from January and February) prices are leading the decline with cereal following behind. On the other hand, FAO says, dairy and meat prices were up, but only slightly in the case of meat.
The FAO attributes the dropping prices to "sluggish import demand" with "economic uncertainties" to go with the unrest in North Africa and the Middle East as well as Japan's efforts to recover from an earthquake and tsunami.
"The decrease in the overall index this month brings some welcome respite from the steady increases seen over the last eight months," said David Hallam, Director of FAO's Trade and Market Division. He added, "But it would be premature to conclude that this is a reversal of the upward trend."
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio