By Benjamin Umuteme
Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has said that despite large production and robust supply import bill on food will rise to $1.41 trillion this year.
In its latest Food Outlook for 2017, FAO noted that it represents a 6 percent increase compared to 2016 and the second highest tally on record.
The UN Agency noted stated that higher import bill is driven by increased international demand for most foodstuffs as well as higher freight rates.
“Higher bills do not necessarily translate into food being bought by them as the cost of importing has greatly escalated,” the report said.
Of particular concern is the economic and social implications of the double-digit increases in the food import bills of Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) and Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCS).
The high import costs is coming at a time when inventories are robust, harvest forecasts are strong and food commodity markets remain well supplied.
The food commodity outlook, issued twice a year, takes a close look at the markets of key food categories, including cassava, the livestock and dairy sectors, fish, vegetable oils and the main cereal grains.
The meat import bill is set to reach an all-time high of $176 billion this year, up 22 percent from 2016 while global milk production is predicted to grow by 1.4 percent, led by a robust 4 percent expansion in India.
“Tropical fruits are increasingly stars in global trade, with export volumes of mango, pineapple, avocado and papayas on course to achieve a total combined value of $10 billion this year,” according to the Food Outlook
The Agency estimates that total production of the four fruits could reach 92 million tonnes this year, compared to 69 million tonnes in 2008.
Production of cassava crop in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to may reach a record high of 156 million tones this year buoyed by various commercial expansion programmes aimed at curbing reliance on food imports in the region.