By Alfred Koroma
The world food import bill is estimated to rise nearly to US$2 trillion in 2022, higher than previously expected, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns in its new Food Outlook report, published on Friday 11 November.
The report says high-income countries will account for bulk of the increase, but Low-income countries will suffer more rising food cost.
According to FAO, the aggregate costs for food imports for low-income countries is expected to remain almost unchanged, even though it is predicted to shrink by 10 percent in volume terms, pointing to growing accessibility issues for these countries.
“These are alarming signs from a food security perspective, indicating importers are finding it difficult to finance rising international costs, potentially heralding an end of their resilience to higher international prices,” FAO warns.
The Food Outlook report says the negative repercussions for global agricultural output and food security are likely to extend into 2023, warning that the existing differences are likely to become more pronounced, in which high-income countries are continuing to import across the entire spectrum of food products, while developing regions are increasingly focused on staple foods.
FAO welcomes the approval by the International Monetary Fund of a Food Shock Window proposal to provide emergence to low income countries.
The report forecast global oilseed production to rebound and reach an all-time high in the 2022/23 marketing year, with increased outputs of soybean and rapeseed expected to offset a likely drop in sunflower seed production.
Also, outputs of meat and dairy products in 2022 are expected to increase, while total fisheries and aquaculture production is expected to increase globally by 1.2 percent, with a 2.6-percent expansion in aquaculture output anticipated to more than offset a slight fall in capture fisheries output.
FAO’S Food Outlook which is released twice a year gives a review of market supply and utilization trends for the world’s major foodstuffs. It also looks at trends in ocean freight cost and assesses global expenditures on imported agricultural inputs, including fertilizers.