WASHINGTON, July 11, 2014 – Global meat prices will keep rising for the next decade with beef continuing to set record highs. And the production and consumption of biofuels is expected to increase by 50 percent.

These are some of the forecasts in the 2014-2023 Agricultural Outlook released today by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The study sees a generally positive outlook for agriculture with strong markets driven by diversifying diets.

At a press conference at FAO’s headquarters in Rome, Jose Graziano da Silva, the organization’s director general, said the report, now in its 20th annual edition, has become a global benchmark for world agriculture. The 325-page document provides a 10-year assessment of the national, regional and global agricultural commodity markets. The projections cover crop production, consumption, stocks, trade and prices for 25 products between 2014 and 2023.

Most of the increased consumption of farm products, especially protein, is expected to come from “rapidly growing Asian economies,” the report states. In Europe and North America, however, “saturated levels of per capita food consumption and declining population growth rates result in much slower consumption growth,” it said.

Here are some key findings for key categories in the report:

Cereals: World prices of major grains will ease early in the outlook period, boosting global trade. Stocks are projected to rise with rice inventories in Asia reaching record high levels.

Oilseeds: The global share of cropland planted to oilseeds continues to increase although at a slower rate than in recent years as growing demand for vegetable oils pushes prices up.

Sugar: After weakening in late 2013, prices will recover, driven by strong global demand. Exports from Brazil, the world's dominant sugar exporter, will be influenced by the ethanol market.

Meat: Firm import demand from Asia, as well as herd rebuilding in North America support prices which are expected to remain above the average levels of the previous decade, when adjusted for inflation. Beef prices are seen rising to record levels. Poultry should overtake pork to become the most consumed meat product over the next 10 years.

Dairy: Prices are expected to fall slightly from their current high levels due to sustained productivity gains in the major producing countries and resumed growth in China. India will overtake the European Union to become the world’s largest milk producer, building considerable skimmed milk powder exports.

Fisheries: Aquaculture production growth will be concentrated in Asia, and will remain one of the fastest-growing food sectors, surpassing capture fisheries for human consumption in 2014.

Biofuels: The consumption and production levels of biofuels are expected to increase by more than 50 percent, led by sugar-based ethanol and biodiesel. The ethanol price will increase in line with the crude oil price, while the biodiesel price more closely follows the path of vegetable oil prices.

Cotton: The expected release of accumulated global stocks will boost consumption, helped by lower prices which should then recover by 2023.


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