Mr. Pavel Vavra from the Markets and Trade Division, OECD Directorate for Trade and Agriculture, presented projections for 2009-2018 published in the OECD-FAO annual agricultural outlook report. He said that agriculture has proved to be more resilient to the global crisis than other sectors. Commodity prices in real terms remain at or above the 1996-2006 levels.

Projections to 2018 show that agricultural production is expected to grow by about 10-40 percent compared with the 1996-2006 period. Wheat would show the smallest increase and oilseeds the largest. In the area of trade, developing countries would be driving global demand and trade expansion, especially for exports of pigmeat, poultry and oilseeds. In 2018, 71 percent of the world’s wheat would to be used for food; 56 percent of the world’s coarse grains would be used as feed in 2018 and 12 percent for biofuels; 20 percent of the world’s vegetable oil would be used for biodiesel production.

Mr. Vavra seemed quite optimistic for the future, even thought that future would be more volatile and more dependent on oil prices (because of biofuel mandates). A fundamental factor that creates uncertainty in the outlook is supply response – to what extent will world price changes be transmitted to local producers, what technological progress can be expected, and how will farmers and policy makers address the issues of climate change, water availability and sustainability?

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