Global Prices of Agriculture Products Decline

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Lagos rural market

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The global prices of agriculture products are declining as global demand slows down amidst strong crop yields and higher productivity

THE Food and Agricultural Organisation, FAO, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, have said that the real prices for global agricultural products would continue their gradual decline over the coming decade. According to the report, “OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2015-2024” the decline in prices is as a result of a combination of strong crop yields, higher productivity and slower growth in global demand.

It noted that as the low cost of oil pushes energy and fertiliser costs down and removes incentives for the production of first-generation bio-fuels made from food crops, food prices would continue to slope downwards over the next 10 years. It said that modest production growth was expected in Africa, although further investments could raise yields and production significantly.

The report said among the various commodities enjoying a decline in market costs are cereal prices, which as a result of the concurrence of high cereal stocks and low oil prices, were expected to weaken in the short term. The statement also noted that over the medium term, however, slowly rising production costs and sustained demand may strengthen prices again. It said high sugar demand in developing countries would likely boost prices for the commodity and spur further investment in the sector.

The report suggested that the market outcome would nonetheless hinge on the ongoing competition between the profitability of sugar versus ethanol in Brazil, considered to be the world’s leading producer. The report said in spite of the advantageous scenario regarding global food pricing, prices would likely remain at levels above those at the beginning of the 2000s.

It said major changes in demand should be expected throughout the developing world, amid a growing population, rising per capita incomes and urbanisation, which would increase demand for food. The report also explained that rising incomes would prompt consumers to continue diversifying their diets, notably by increasing their consumption of animal protein relative to starches.

Consequently, the prices of meat and dairy products are expected to be high, relative to crop prices. The report explained that among crops, the prices of coarse grains and oil-seeds, used for animal feed, would rise relative to the prices of staple foods.

— Jul 20, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT

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