ROME — The Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index fell for the first time in eight months, easing 2.9% in March from its peak in February. At 230 points, the index was still 37% above March 2010.

“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 the F.A.O.’s Trade and Market Division. “But it would be premature to conclude that this is a reversal of the upward trend.

“We need to see the information on new plantings over the next few weeks to get an idea of future production levels. But low stock levels, the implications for oil prices of events in the Middle East and North Africa and the effects of the destruction in Japan all make for continuing uncertainty and price volatility over the coming months.”

According to the F.A.O., international prices of oils and sugar fell the most, followed by cereals. Meanwhile, dairy and meat prices both increased during March.