Global food import costs to rise 12% to record high this year -FAO

Global food import costs are set to rise 12% in 2021 to a record high due to soaring commodity prices and high demand during the COVID-19 crisis, the United Nations food agency said. .

The global food import bill, including shipping costs, is expected to reach $ 1.715 trillion this year, up from $ 1.530 trillion in 2020, the Food and Agriculture Organization said on Thursday. (FAO) in its biannual food outlook report.

The growth in agricultural trade during the pandemic has shown the inelastic nature of food consumption and the resilience of international markets, but rising prices since the end of 2020 increased risks for poorer import-dependent countries, the country said. FAO.

Its monthly food price index hit a 10-year high in May, reflecting strong increases for grains, vegetable oils and sugar. Read more

The FAO said a separate index of food import values, including freight costs which have also skyrocketed, hit a record high in March this year, exceeding levels seen in previous food price spikes in 2006-2008 and 2010-2012.

A sharp increase in the volume of staple food imports last year had already pushed global import costs 3% to a record high.

The exceptions were drinks and fish products which are more sensitive to economic conditions and which saw demand dampened by difficulties in the supply chain, FAO said.

Chinese imports have been a driver of agricultural demand and prices over the past year, in part reflecting Beijing’s efforts to rebuild its pork industry after an outbreak.

China’s maize (maize) imports in the upcoming 2021/22 season are expected to reach 24 million tonnes, maintaining China as the world’s largest importer after its maize imports are expected to quadruple to 22 million tonnes in 2020 / 21, according to FAO forecasts.

A recovery in Chinese pork production is expected to reduce world trade, offsetting the growth in beef and poultry flows to keep the overall meat trade stable this year, the FAO said.

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Natalee Broderick

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