Tuesday, 09 July 2019 09:39

Food supply okay, trade vital

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Global demand for agricultural products is projected to grow by 15% over the coming decade, while agricultural productivity growth is expected to increase slightly faster.

As a result, inflation-adjusted prices of the major agricultural commodities should remain at or below their current levels, according to an annual report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization.

This year's edition of the OECD-FAO Agriculture Outlook, published on July 8, projects that yield improvements and higher production intensity, driven by technological innovation, will result in higher output even as global agricultural land use remains broadly constant.

At the same time, new uncertainties are emerging on top of the usual risks facing agriculture. These include disruptions from trade tensions, the spread of crop and animal diseases, growing resistance to antimicrobial substances, regulatory responses to new plant-breeding techniques, and increasingly extreme climatic events.

Worldwide, the use of cereals for food is projected to grow by about 150 million tonnes over the outlook period - amounting to a 13% increase - with rice and wheat accounting for the bulk of the expansion.

The most significant factor behind the projected growth in food use of staple products is population growth, which is expected to rise fastest in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

"The Outlook makes abundantly clear that trade is critical for global food security," said OECD Director for Trade and Agriculture Ken Ash. "Regions that are experiencing rapid population growth are not necessarily those where food production can be increased sustainably, so it is essential that all governments support open, transparent and predictable agro-food markets."

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