Total global food import bill is set to rise this year, following a jump in food prices in the month of May, after three prior months of decline, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations food agency, said on Thursday (8 June).
According to the FAO, the projected rise in food bill at the end of the year will be the outcome of rising shipping costs and larger volumes of import which will push cost of importing food globally to more than $1.3 trillion.
Prices were lifted on international markets by 10 percent year-on-year as a result of higher values for all foods except sugar, the FAO said.
By FAO’s calculations, this year’s food import bill will be 10.6 percent above last year’s, against what is seen as broad stability in markets that have been aided by ample supplies of wheat and maize as well as higher production of oilseed products.
Countries, especially those that are poor and rely on imports to cover their food needs, including part of sub-Saharan Africa, would experience a faster rise in their import costs as they buy more meat, sugar, dairy and oilseed products.
Apart from fish, it is expected that all other food categories will also add to rising import bills this year, as robust growth in aquaculture in many developing countries increasingly manages to meet domestic demand.
The FAO’s food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 172.6 points in May, an increase of 2.2 percent from April.
The UN food agency also reduced its forecast for global cereals output in the 2017-18 season to 2.594 billion tonnes, down 0.5 percent year-on-year. Global wheat production is expected to decline 2.2 percent after a record harvest last year.