Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, drought and inflationary pressures drove “widespread” increases in agricultural prices in the European Union (EU) last year, new figures show.

Latest EU statistics on agriculture, published today (Thursday, January 12), show the sharpest price rises were recorded for cereals, which jumped by 45%; eggs; which rose by 43%; and milk, which increased by 31%.

The only product group that registered a decrease in price was fruit, which fell by 3%.

Latest data from Eurostat – the statistical office of the EU – shows that the average price of agricultural goods as a whole increased by 24% between 2021 and 2022. 

According to Eurostat there were three broad drivers of higher prices starting with the disruption to global agricultural markets following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Both Russia and Ukraine had been major exporters of grains, wheat, maize, oilseeds – particularly sunflowers – and fertilisers.

The second key driver, according to Eurostat, was widespread drought across Europe in 2022, which is likely to result in reduced yields on crops, including fodder crops like hay used as feed for livestock.

It identified the third driver as other inflationary pressures and highlighted the impact of new measures taken to reduce the EU’s dependency on Russia for energy.

EU price rises

The latest report from Eurostat focuses on three products with the sharpest average EU price rises in 2022 – cereals, eggs and milk.

Source: Eurostat

 The report shows that average prices for cereals increased in all EU countries between 2021 and 2022 with the largest increase recorded in Finland at 70%, followed by Hungary with 67%.

Egg prices also increased across all EU countries between 2021 and 2022 with the biggest jump in prices seen in France, with an increase of 76% and Belgium, with a 74% increase.

Eurostat’s latest analysis also outlined that the drought across the EU in 2022 reduced the availability of fresh grass as a feed for dairy cows which in turn impacted on prices.

Milk prices rose in all EU countries in 2022 to average a 50% hike in Belgium, Lithuania, Hungary and Latvia.

The report also illustrated that were “sharp price rises” in the average price in inputs compared to 2021, particularly in relation to fertilisers and soil improvers which soared by 87% and energy and lubricants which increased by 59%.

Source: Eurostat