A very reassuring new Food Outlook Report has just been released by the FAO.
If we were to go back over the past five years and review all of the sensationalist headlines proclaiming that food production in the world is headed downwards and far-more-than-that drama predicting assured gloom and doom, we would see that many fear-mongers got it very wrong.
The world on average has surpluses of food right now. Weather was quite good all around for the globe’s wheat crop so that 2014 will set a new high record. Strong prices pushed a rebound in corn production to make up for the recent large policy-induced demand for corn coming from the U.S. The Midwestern United States didn’t experience a multi-year drought as many predicted in 2012. And climate change is not as of yet affecting our global food supply in a significantly negative way.
The graphs below show us the remarkably positive state of the world for food and agricultural production.
Global food prices have fallen significantly over the past three years.
The decline in September marks the longest period of continuous falls in the value of the FAO’s Food Price Index since the late 1990s.
Only the meat commodity is up in the past two years. Sugar, dairy, cereals, and vegetable oils are all down. Today’s high meat prices are a result of the high feed prices from a couple year’s back, so that comes as no surprise.
STOCKS-TO-USE-RATIOS FROM THE REPORT
Wheat: Based on latest forecasts for stocks and utilization, the world wheat stock-to-use ratio increases from 25.2 percent in 2013/14 to 26.9 percent in 2014/15, while the ratio of major wheat exporters’ closing stocks to their total disappearance rises from 14.1 percent to 15.6 percent, reflecting this season’s ample supply situation.
Coarse Grain: The anticipated increase in world inventories will result in the stock-to-use-ratio reaching 20.2 percent, a value not seen since 2001/02, and well above the historical low of 13.8 percent registered in 2012/13.
Rice: Based on the current estimates, the drop in world carryover stocks would reduce the world rice stock-to-use ratio from 36.2 percent in 2014 to 34.8 percent in 2015.
Cereals: The overall positive outlook, if realized, will result in the cereal stocks-to-use ratio increasing to 25.2 percent in 2014/15 from 23.5 percent in 2013/14, and the highest since 2001/02.