Mathias Cormann, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and QU Dongyu, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) presented the document during an online event.
From the foreword, initialed by both, it is highlighted that the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit in New York will be an excellent opportunity for the international community to map out a future vision for agricultural-food systems, including complying with the Sustainable Development Goals.
The report refers to ‘come at a critical juncture’, and so both officials point to the Covid-19 pandemic as an unprecedented pressure on the agricultural sector, requiring swift action to ensure the sector can remain resilient, efficient and sustainable, now and in the long term.
They also point to the possibility of some progress towards those goals, based on a rapid recovery from the global Covid-19 pandemic, stable weather conditions and environmental policies, although, they note, Covid-19 disruptions in 2020 has taken the achievement of the SDGs even further away.
Without additional efforts, the leaders add, the goal of Zero Hunger will be missed and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture will increase further.
The volume, with 248 pages and another nearly 90 devoted to tables and statistics, in 11 chapters draws key projections for consumption, production, trade and prices of 25 agricultural commodities for the period 2021 to 2030.
They forecast in that document that agricultural demand growth will slow over the next decade and be driven primarily by population growth.
‘Differing income levels and income growth projections, as well as cultural preferences around diets and nutrition, will be the basis for continued differences in consumption patterns among countries,’ the report refers.
They also predict that slower growth in demand for agricultural commodities will be accompanied by increased efficiency in crop and livestock production, which will keep real agricultural prices relatively stable.
Both officials also warn that over the next decade, climate variability, animal and plant diseases, changes in input prices, macroeconomic developments and other uncertainties will lead to variations around the projections.