Rome: A “two-speed recovery” from the global economic crisis favours poor countries, and several factors may push crop prices higher, the UN food agency and the OECD club of wealthy nations said on Tuesday.
“A two-speed recovery appears to be under way characterised by weak and hesitant growth with high unemployment in many OECD countries and by stronger growth and faster recovery in the large developing countries,” a joint report concluded.
The recovery “is slowly spreading to the rest of the developing world and helping to fuel world income growth,” the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said.
“On a per capita basis, production growth in least developed countries is struggling to keep up with rapid population growth,” said the annual Agricultural Outlook for the coming decade.
Overall, “average crop prices over the next 10 years ... are projected to be above the levels of the decade prior to the 2007/08 peaks,” it said.
Despite “a number of severe shocks in recent years with record high oil prices, commodity price spikes, food security fears and resultant trade restrictions, not to mention the most serious global economic recession since the 1930s, (agriculture) has shown remarkable resilience,” it said.
“Still, many governments remain concerned about the potential for a repetition of significant shocks to such key factors as energy prices, exchange rates, and/or the macroeconomic performance of key countries and regions, and about the consequences that such shocks have on market volatility,” it added.
The long-term outlook for food production is positive, the report said.
“Global agricultural production is anticipated to grow more slowly in the next decade than in the past one, but in the absence of unexpected shocks, growth remains on track with estimated longer-term requirements of a 70% increase in global food production by 2050.”
Emerging economies will drive growth in world agricultural production, consumption and trade, the report said. “Demand from developing countries is driven by rising per capita incomes and urbanisation, reinforced by population growth, which remains nearly twice that of the OECD area,” it noted.