The annual data compilation offers insights to current global trends in food and agriculture
29 November 2023, Rome: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched today its annual Statistical Yearbook, covering latest trends in the world’s agrifood systems and highlighting for the first time the impact of disasters on agriculture and the cost and affordability of a healthy diet.
Drawing on the wealth of information that FAO statisticians produce across the Organization, this publication offers a synthesis of the major factors at play in the global food and agricultural landscape. The 2023 edition comprises well-organized data sectioned into four thematic chapters, covering the economic importance of agricultural activities; inputs, outputs and factors of production; implications for food security and nutrition; and agriculture’s impacts on the environment.
The Statistical Yearbook is a primary tool and indispensable reference for policymakers, researchers and analysts, as well as laypersons interested in the past, present and future paths of food and agriculture.
“Timely, accurate and high-quality data and statistics are the cornerstone of solid policy design, where decisions are based on hard evidence, and monitoring and evaluation rely on strong statistical systems.” said José Rosero Moncayo, Director of FAO’s Statistics Division in the foreword to the publication. “This has become all the more critical as governments around the world commit to major sectoral and national development plans, as well as regional and global development agendas.”
This year, the publication highlights the impact of disasters on agriculture and quantifies the magnitude of losses resulting from these events.
Data on the cost and affordability of a healthy diet, which have been released recently in FAOSTAT, are also showcased in this year’s edition, providing a measure of economic access to nutritious foods and healthy diets that are a key link between food security and nutrition.
Another important highlight of this year’s edition is the food loss percentage. It is the highest in sub-Saharan Africa (almost 20 percent in 2021) and the lowest in Northern America and Europe (9 percent). Food losses vary considerably from one region to another within the same commodity groups and supply chain stages.
Finally, the publication taps on the structural characteristics of the agricultural sector coming from censuses of agriculture that users can now easily compare across countries and census rounds for the first time.
Key facts and figures
- Disasters are estimated to have caused production losses in crops and livestock valued at $3.8 trillion between 1991 and 2021, corresponding to an average loss of $123 billion per year, or 5 percent of annual global agricultural GDP. Asia has the largest loss, reflecting its overall geographic size, followed by the Americas, Europe, Africa and Oceania. Even though Asia has the highest loss in absolute terms, it has a relatively small impact given the magnitude of its production. In contrast, Africa, the Americas and Europe appear more affected proportionally to their agricultural sector.
- The global estimate of the cost of a healthy diet in 2021 was 3.66 purchasing power parity (PPP) dollars per person per day, up 4.3 percent compared with 2020. The cost of a healthy diet increased by more than 5 percent in all regions except Northern America and Europe between 2020 and 2021, reflecting the rise in food inflation. More than 3.1 billion people in the world, or 42 percent, were unable to afford a healthy diet in 2021.
- The global value added generated by agriculture, forestry and fishing grew by 84 percent in real terms between 2000 and 2021, reaching $3.7 trillion in 2021. Given its size, Asia was the main contributor to global agriculture, forestry and fishing value added with 65 percent of the world’s total in 2021.
- Agriculture employed some 873 million people in 2021, or 27 percent of the global workforce, compared with 1 027 million or 40 percent in 2000.
- Global use of pesticide went up 62 percent between 2000 and 2021 with the Americas accounting for half the use in 2021.
- From 2000 to 2021, the production of primary crops grew by 54 percent reaching 9.5 billion tonnes. Four crops (sugarcane, maize, wheat and rice) accounted for half the total.
- Cereals were the most traded commodity by quantity in 2021: the Americas and Europe are the largest exporters and Asia is the largest importer. With slightly less than one-third of the total, cereals were the main group of primary crops produced in 2021, followed by sugar crops (22 percent), vegetables and oil crops (12 percent each).
- Greenhouse gas emissions from agrifood systems grew by 10 percent between 2000 and 2021. Farm-gate emissions account for nearly half of them.
The Statistical Yearbook 2023 is available in a digital version, and as a pocketbook printed edition which provides a quick and easy reference to the main facts and trends.
The Statistical Yearbook is only one of a series of tools and statistical publications that FAO provides to users. The freely accessible FAOSTAT data platform contains the largest statistical database on food and agriculture in the world, with approximately 20 000 indicators covering more than 245 countries and territories, and around 2 million views each year.
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