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Agri-food to show more resilience to pandemic: UN body

Food Outlook report expects global cereal production to surpass last year's record by 2.6% in 2020

Tuba Sahin   | 11.06.2020
Agri-food to show more resilience to pandemic: UN body

ANKARA

While global food markets are expected to face uncertainty in 2020-21 due to the coronavirus crisis, the agri-food sector will likely show more resilience to the crisis than other sectors, according to a report released by the UN food body on Thursday.

"Whilst COVID-19 has posed a serious threat to food security, overall, our analysis shows that from the global perspective, agricultural commodity markets are proving to be more resilient to the pandemic than many other sectors," said Boubaker Ben-Belhassen, Trade and Markets Division director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The Food Outlook report provided the first forecasts for production and market trends in 2020-2021 for the world's most traded food commodities - cereals, oil crops, meat, dairy, fish, and sugar.

Despite uncertainties posed by the pandemic, the FAO's first forecasts for the 2020/21 season pointed out a comfortable cereal supply and demand situation.

Global cereal production this year is expected to surpass last year's record by 2.6%.

World cereal trade in 2020-21 is projected to stand at 433 million tons, up 2.2% percent (9.4 million tons) from 2019-20, and setting a new record high, boosted by expected expansions in trade of all major cereals.

The total meat production worldwide is forecast to fall 1.7% this year due to animal diseases, COVID-19-related market disruptions, and the lingering effects of droughts.

International meat trade is likely to register a moderate growth -- but considerably slower growth than in 2019 -- largely sustained by high imports from China, the report said.

The COVID-19 will continue to heavily affect seafood markets, particularly fresh products and popular restaurant species this year, the report underlined.

The pandemic is set to severely hit, in particular, global shrimp and salmon production.

The FAO foresee global sugar production to decline in 2019/20 and to fall below consumption for the first time in three years.

Trade in sugar is projected to expand sustained by low prices and stock rebuilding in some traditional importing countries.

Despite market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, global milk production in 2020 is forecast to grow 0.8% to 859 million tons. However, global dairy exports are expected to contract 4% amid faltering import demand.

The FAO report underlined that the significant decline in economic growth due to the pandemic has evolved into an issue of access to food, limiting people's ability to get enough food.

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