Global demand projected to push agricultural trade forward through 2024

An increase in world population with a growing middle class is going to push the global demand for agricultural products, such as meat, grains and oilseeds, says the recent USDA Agricultural Projections to 2024. The report also speculates world agriculture production is going to accelerate quicker than the growth in global population in the coming years, "enabling a small increase in average world per capita use of most agricultural products."

"Low- and middle-income countries are the main sources of growing food and feed demand and are projected to account for most of the projected increase in world agricultural consumption and import demand over the next decade," states the report. "Major drivers of demand by developing countries are relatively high rates of population and income growth, large numbers of relatively low-income consumers with propensity to spend new income on more and better food, and urbanization that tends to increase demand for more diverse diets through exposure to new foods and, in some cases, to modern retail food outlets."

Developing countries take in account for 81 percent of the projected global meat consumption increases, USDA says. The cheapest meat, chicken, seeing an annual increase of 2.2 percent, beef following with a growth of 1.3 percent, and pork at an increase consumption of 1.2 percent.

"Demand for agricultural products and especially meat in developing countries increases faster than production, resulting in increasing imports for meat products and feeds, both grains and oilseeds," says USDA, with the same developing countries seeing an 87 percent demand increase for majority of cotton consumption, grains and oilseeds.

Middle Eastern and African countries are projected to have the strongest population growth with the Middle East growing at an annual rate of 1.4 percent and Africa at 2.2 percent.

"Annual growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) in the Middle East is expected to average 4.2 percent during 2015-24, while growth in Africa is projected to average 5.1 percent. The region is projected to account for over two-fifths of the increase in world poultry imports and almost one-fifth of the growth in beef imports," the report says. "Strong policy support for domestically produced meat also motivates growth in feed grain and protein meal imports, especially by countries where land constraints or agro-climatic conditions limit an expansion of domestic crop production. As a result, the region"s share of the increase in world imports is projected to be about 25 percent for coarse grains, 42 percent for wheat, 73 percent for rice, and almost 20 percent for soybean meal."

Mexico is expected to be strong markets for meats and grain commodities. "A sustained increase in Mexico"s per capita meat demand over the next decade provides incentives to expand livestock production in that country as well as to import more meat and animal feed. Beef imports are projected to more than double, while pork and poultry imports rise by 36 and 52 percent, respectively." Corn imports are also projected to become the second largest corn importer, with an increase in 32 percent.

Meat imports for China and Hong Kong are projected to increase substantially over the next 10 years to 71 and 41 percent higher. The country is also expected to remain the largest importer of sorghum, after doubling 2013 barley imports for feed and malt brewing to 4.9 million tons in 2014.

To read the full 37-page report on global demand projections and production rates, click here.


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