The decline will be more pronounced and may decline to about 5% in developing countries that are net importers of food products such as Tunisia, Egypt, or Pakistan and Turkey.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Thursday that despite an increase in global production of maize, milk or meat in 2023, food imports for the poorest countries will shrink due to continued high prices.
In its semi-annual report on growth prospects, the FAO said that while high-income countries will continue to increase their imports, the bill for 47 least developed countries is expected to decrease this year by 1.5 percent, mainly in Africa.
However, the decline will be more pronounced and may decline to about 5% in developing countries that are net importers of food products such as Tunisia, Egypt, or Pakistan and Turkey.
The FAO described the decline in the volume of food imports in these two groups as a “worrying development” and suggests a decline in their purchasing power.
And while the prices of oils or grains declined after peaking in March 2022 after the invasion of Ukraine, they are still at high levels today.
Fruit, vegetable or dairy products continue to rise, “slowing demand”, especially in poorer countries.
And the Food and Agriculture Organization stresses that “what reinforces these concerns is that the decrease in international prices for a number of basic foodstuffs has not translated, or at least not in full, into a decrease in prices at the local retail level.”
Globally, spending on food imports is expected to reach a new high in 2023, although it is expected to “grow at a much slower pace than last year”.
After a jump of 18% in 2021 and then 11% in 2022, the bill will rise by 1.5% to $1,980 billion.
At the same time, in the period 2023-2024, the production of rice, coarse grains (corn and sorghum), oilseeds, sugar, milk or meat, excluding beef, is expected to be more abundant.
Coarse grain production is also expected to increase by 3% to reach 1,513 million tons, “a new record,” thanks to a bumper crop in Brazil.
On the other hand, wheat production is expected to decline by 3% after a record set in the previous season (777 million tons) due to lower harvests in Russia and Australia.
“Despite this generally positive outlook, global agri-food production systems remain vulnerable to shocks” climatic, geopolitical or economic, the FAO said.