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FAO: World food import bill to reach record high in 2021

FAO: World food import bill to reach record high in 2021

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports on the food import bill should extend beyond $1.75 trillion globally, marking a 14 percent increase from the previous year.

The UN food agency has released on Thursday the annual report Food Outlook, which stresses that the global food trade should hit an all-time record high in both volume and value terms. As WAM has learned, by the end of 2021, the world food import bill should extend beyond $1.75 trln, marking a 12 percent higher than the forecast.

The recently-released Food Outlook says that a trade in foodstuffs has shown “remarkable resilience” to disruptions due to the global health and economic crisis. During the last year, global economy showed the rapidly rising of prices, posing significant challenges for Low-Income Food Deficit Countries (LIFDCs).

In developed countries and regions, while high-value foods, such as fruits and vegetables, fishery products and beverages are driving the bulk of the increases. The increase is driven by higher price levels of internationally traded food commodities and a threefold increase in freight costs.

The forecast expects some improvements in the supply situation for oilseeds and derived products, but their end-season stocks could remain below average.

In particular, fisheries and aquaculture output is expected to increase 2 percent. For FAO, this shows that new market dynamics resulting from the pandemic are likely to endure. Despite high freight costs and logistical delays, fish trade is also bouncing back.

The FAO analysis also points to a fast-growing number of countries, currently 53, where households spend more than 60 percent of their income on necessities such as food, fuel, water and housing.