The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has disclosed that global food trade has accelerated and is poised to hit an all-time record in both volume and value terms in 2021. According to the organisation, while the global food trade has shown remarkable resilience to disruptions throughout the COVID-19, rapidly rising prices of food commodities and energy pose significant challenges for poorer countries and consumers, who spend large shares of their incomes on basic necessities.
FAO predicted that the global food import bill could reach an all-time high in 2021 and surpass $1.75 trillion, marking a 14 per cent increase from the year 2020 and 12 per cent higher than the earlier forecast in June 2021. This was revealed in the new Food Outlook released by FAO and published on its official website.
According to the report, the increase was driven by higher price levels of internationally traded food commodities and a threefold increase in freight costs. “Developing regions account for 40 per cent of the total and their aggregate food import bill is expected to rise by 20 per cent compared to 2020. “Even faster growth is expected for Low-Income Food Deficit Countries, due to higher costs more than higher food import volumes. “Developing regions are facing sharp increases in the prices of basic staples such as cereals, animal fats, vegetable oils and oilseeds, while highvalue foods, such as fruits and vegetables, fishery products and beverages are driving the bulk of the increases for developed regions,” the report stated.