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OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2009

image of OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2009
This 15th edition of the Agricultural Outlook edition presents the outlook for commodity markets during the 2009 to 2018 period, and analyses world market trends for the main agricultural products, as well as biofuels. It provides an assessment of agricultural market prospects for production, consumption, trade, stocks and prices of the included commodities. 

This edition of the Outlook was prepared in a period of unprecedented financial market turmoil and rapidly deteriorating global economic prospects. Because macroeconomic conditions are changing so quickly, this report complements the standard baseline projections with an analysis of revised short–term GDP prospects and alternative GDP recovery paths. Lower GDP scenarios result in lower commodity prices, with reductions in crop and biofuel prices about one-half those for livestock products. A sensitivity analysis to highly uncertain crude oil prices shows the important links between energy and agricultural prices. The Outlook also reports on a survey of various actors in the agri-food chain in terms of the current impacts of the global economic crisis and credit market constraints.

The issue of food security and the capacity of the agricultural sector to meet the rising demand for food remains very high on the international political agenda.  This report provides a brief overview of critical factors such as land availability, productivity gains, water usage and climate change, and suggests that agricultural production could be significantly increased, provided there is sufficient investment in research, infrastructure and technological change, particularly in developing countries.

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Biofuels

All markets related to biofuels have undergone a rollercoaster ride in 2008. After the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), signed into US law in December 2007, and the proposal by the European Commission for a new Renewable Energy Directive (RED) in January 2008, signals for accelerated growth in the production and use of biofuels were set. Crude oil prices, which started the year just below USD 100 per barrel on a steeply rising curve, had increased public and private interest in biofuels during the first half of the year, while at the same time soaring prices for feedstock commodities squeezed producers’ margins, particularly as biofuel prices rose by much less than those for crude oil. At the same time, these high feedstock prices also meant skyrocketing food costs for poor consumers, providing fuel for the wider debate on “food versus fuel” and exacerbating strongly held – though to a large part exaggerated – concerns about the responsibility of increasing biofuels demand for rising food prices.

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