OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2023-2032

The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2023–2032 offers valuable insights into the prospects of global agricultural commodity and fish markets over the next decade. The report, a collaborative effort between the OECD and FAO, sheds light on the challenges and uncertainties facing the agricultural sector amidst economic risks, high energy prices, and evolving geopolitical dynamics. One of the primary concerns addressed in this year’s Outlook is the surge in agricultural input prices and its potential impact on global food security.

In a special assessment of key farming input prices, which have risen significantly in the past two years, Outlook calculates that every 10% increase in fertilizer prices leads to a 2% increase in food costs, with the burden falling hardest on the poor, who spend a larger share of their budget on food. The Outlook highlights the importance of policies to ensure greater efficiency and resilience.

The Outlook offers decadal projections for cereals, vegetable oils, dairy products, meat, sugar, fish as well as cotton, tropical fruits, pulses and agricultural output used for biofuels. It also includes projections for expected regional trends in greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and incorporates first-time preliminary analyses of the role of food loss and waste.   

Key commodity findings

The demand for growth in cereals production is projected to slow, in part as per capita food consumption of most cereals is reaching saturation levels in many countries. In 2032, it is estimated that 41% of all cereals will be directly consumed by humans, 37% will be used for animal feeds, and biofuels and other industrial uses will account for the rest.

Global crop production growth will mainly be driven by continued progress in plant breeding and a transition to more intensive production systems. Yield improvements are projected to account for 79% of global crop production growth, cropland expansion for 15%, and higher cropping intensity for 6% over the Outlook period.

Global growth of sugar consumption will be driven entirely by Africa and Asia, with demand projected to surge in areas where the level of per capita intake is currently low. By contrast, consumption is set to continue to decline in high-income countries.

Global average per capita consumption of meat is projected to increase by 0.1% annually, mostly driven by middle and lower-income countries. Worldwide demand for meat is expected to increase through 2032, but per-capita consumption levels in high-income countries are projected to decline in the coming decade, led by drops in Western Europe and North America.

Fish available for food consumption is expected to grow everywhere, and fastest in Africa, but projected rapid population growth in this region will limit per capita consumption increases.

Global production of livestock and fish is projected to expand by 1.3% annually over the next decade, slower than seen in the recent past. Poultry meat is projected to account for almost half the increase in total meat production through 2032.

World milk production is projected to grow at 1.5% annually over the next decade, with more than half the increase coming from India and Pakistan, which together will account for almost a third of global milk output in 2032. Milk production in the European Union is projected to decline slightly due to the ongoing transition towards more environmentally sustainable production systems.

Trade patterns

Global trade in agricultural commodities covered in the Outlook is projected to expand by 1.3% annually – half the pace recorded in the past decade – due mostly to slower growth in demand by middle-income countries. Maize, wheat and soybeans contributed the most to the overall agricultural trade growth in the past decade; however, they are projected to experience the biggest drop in trade growth over the next 10 years.

After becoming a net importer of agricultural commodities in recent years, South and Southeast Asia’s net imports are projected to increase further, driven mainly by continuing strong demand growth within the subregion.

Climate and Agriculture

Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are expected to increase by 7.5% in the next decade – just less than half the projected output growth – indicating a significant fall in the carbon intensity of agricultural production. The livestock sector is projected to account for 86% of the increased emissions.

Full press release.