This is the 18th edition of the Agricultural Outlook and the eighth prepared jointly with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It brings together the commodity, policy and country expertise of both organisations, and input from collaborating member countries. The report provides world market trends for biofuels, cereals, oilseeds, sugar, meats, fish and dairy products over the 2012-2021 period and contains an evaluation of recent developments, and key issues and uncertainties in those commodity markets. A jointly-developed modelling system, based on the OECD’s AGLINK and on the FAO’s COSIMO models, facilitates consistency in the projections. This edition includes a special feature on the challenge of increasing agricultural productivity growth in a sustainable manner.
- 11 July 2012
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Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Productivity Growth
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In the previous three issues of the Outlook, the rapid rise in agricultural commodity prices since 2006 has drawn significant attention. It has been projected that commodity prices will remain not only high but also highly volatile during the next decade, if not beyond. The policy landscape has also changed considerably. A decade ago, cereal prices, adjusted for inflation, stood at historic lows (for at least 50 years), OECD governments were providing producers with large subsidies to support incomes, and developing countries were protesting that subsidies were depressing commodity prices. Within the last ten years, however, real food commodity prices have doubled, underpinned by high economic growth in emerging developing countries, and higher global prices for energy and associated inputs. Initially, relatively low prices for agricultural commodities, in combination with stimulative bioenergy policies, kick-started the rapidly growing demand for agricultural feedstocks. But the resulting high and volatile food prices generated not only concern for food security but raised the spectre of future shortages and focus about the inability to feed the world, in a context of climate change, resource scarcity (i.e. land, water and nutrients) and disparate economic opportunities. There have been rising demands by civil society for green growth in agriculture, given its important impact on the environment. In 2011, agricultural heads from the G20 countries requested advice on improving productivity growth in agriculture and how to address rising concerns for food security and sustainability, and the resilience of the agri-food system, particularly for small family farmers and low income countries. As a follow-up a 2012 Interagency Report to the Mexican G20 Presidency entitled Sustainable Agricultural Productivity Growth and Bridging the Gap for Small Family Farms has been prepared.