Global food imports surpasses $1.3Trillion in 2017 – FAO

Mazino Dickson, Abuja

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has revealed that global food import bill will surpass $1.3 trillion in 2017, which would be 10.6% higher than 2016.

In its 2017 Global Food Outlook released this month, FAO observed that food commodity markets are exhibiting a well-balanced situation at the global level, although in some cases prospects at the country or regional level tend to diverge.

World wheat production in 2017 is forecast to fall below last year’s record level. However, aided by large carryover stocks, global wheat markets should remain adequately supplied in the 2017/18 marketing season, with international prices remaining subdued, especially during the first half of the season.

Growth in meat production, expected for almost all countries, will be offset by a forecast fall in China, resulting in world output stagnating for the third consecutive year. Global meat trade is expected to grow by 2.5 percent, fuelled by demand from China and met by increased shipments from the United States and Brazil, in particular.

Global rice supplies are forecast to remain ample in 2017/18, sustained by an expected small global production expansion. Despite generally good output prospects, reserves held by the major exporters could fall to a decade low, led by Thailand’s efforts to liquidate public stockpiles.

FAO’s latest forecasts for the 2016/17 season point towards an easing of the supply and demand balance for oil crop products. Responding to this positive outlook, international prices recently embarked on a downward trend, with first indications that markets could remain well supplied in 2017/18, further weighing on prices.

World milk production is set to increase in 2017, assisted by a generally favourable weather outlook and improved prices for milk in a number of countries. Global trade in dairy products is projected to record a second year of modest growth, rising by 1 percent.

Fish production is expected to grow by 1.1 percent in 2017, driven by aquaculture, which continues to expand at some 4 to 5 percent per year. Supply rebounds for a number of important traded species is likely to dampen some price gains realized in 2016, while political uncertainty in multiple markets is suppressing growth in international seafood trade.

With near- record production expected this year, supplies in 2017/18 are forecast to remain ample and competition among major exporters should again prove intense, especially in view of bumper crops in the leading exporters of the Southern Hemisphere.

Opportunities

Banana is a leading food crop in terms of production value. With some 15 percent of global production exported, its total trade value stood at some USD 8 billion in 2016, making bananas the largest traded fruit crop in value terms. This note discusses a number of important issues that are shaping developments in global banana markets.

Regional trends

Despite an economic slow-down in 2016, Nigeria is expected to retain its position as the top African producer of Sorghum, with FAO projecting the West African nation to produce 6.5 metric tonnes in 2017, a drop of 0.4% from last year. Sudan takes up the second position with the country accounting for 5.4 metric tonnes, and Ethiopia maintaining third with a projected production of 4.4 metric tonnes.

Europe dominates the global grains market, with a projected output of 44.2 metric tonnes; Asia is number two with 19.7 metric tonnes, and Africa third with 17.6 metric tonnes.

The report concluded by observing that exogenous market factors – such as a weaker U.S dollar, fluctuating crude oil prices together with record high US equity prices – appeared to have only a modest impact on global agricultural prices.