Compiled 05/04/2021


Topic: FAO Food Price Index rises for ninth consecutive month in February

Global food commodity prices rose for the ninth consecutive month in February, with quotations for sugar and vegetable oils increasing the most, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports today. The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly-traded food commodities, averaged 116.0 points in February, 2.4 percent higher than the previous month and up 26.5 percent from a year ago.


Topic: U.S. dominance in global grain markets has faded despite robust exports

The United States for many decades had been known as the world’s breadbasket, leading the way in corn, soybean and wheat exports. But although trade volumes remain historically high, the country’s relative impact on global exports is smaller than ever. High grain and oilseed prices, increasing global demand and weaker currencies have all contributed to the decline in U.S. export dominance. In recent years, U.S. crop shortfalls between 2010 and 2012 permanently reduced the country’s market share and contributed to the rise of competing producers. Today, the United States exports just over a quarter of the world’s corn, wheat and soybeans, compared with more than half some 30 years ago. The country also grows about a quarter of those global crops, a smaller portion than in previous decades, though the decline is much less extreme versus that of exports.


Topic: Roaring grain demand top concern, supply curbs take backseat: FAO economist.

The global grains market, which saw a price rally across all major commodities in 2020 following an unprecedented supply-demand scenario, is more likely to be driven by the insatiable hunger of key grain buyers in future while supply restrictions become less relevant, Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at the Food and Agriculture Organization, told S&P Global Platts in an interview. “I’m not so concerned at this point in time with issues on the supply side, my biggest concern actually now is on the demand side. Grain demand is surprising us in certain aspects,” Abbassian said.


Topic: How technology is transforming Japans’ agriculture.

Japan’s manufacturing sector is renowned for cutting-edge techniques based on the philosophy of continuous improvement. In contrast, the nation’s agricultural sector is characterised by an ageing workforce that relies heavily on time-honoured practices. Now, however, industrial technology is helping modernise Japan’s agriculture sector and increase exports. In 2019, Japan’s combined annual exports of agricultural, forestry and fisheries products and food were JP¥912.1 billion (US$8.79 billion), marking a record high for the seventh consecutive year. Yet Japan’s agricultural industry has even greater ambitions, with plans to reach export targets of JP¥2 trillion by 2025 (US$19.28 billion), and JP¥5 trillion (US$48.21 billion) by 2030. While these figures are impressive, conventional Japanese farming techniques are presently labour-intensive and the average age of farmworkers is almost 67.


Topic: ADM to Pay $45 Million to Settle Peanut Farmers’ Price-Fixing Claims

Agricultural company Archer Daniels Midland Co. said it would pay $45 million to settle price-fixing allegations leveled at its peanut-processing division. The settlement by the Chicago-based company aims to resolve a civil lawsuit filed by nearly 12,000 U.S. peanut farmers, who accused the nation’s top peanut processors of colluding to hold down prices paid to growers. Farmers alleged that ADM’s Golden Peanut division coordinated with two other processors to report faulty supply and pricing data, keeping prices for farmers low for the past six years.


Topic: Watch Out: China Cannot Feed Itself (Opinion)Consider U.S. farmers happy.

They are exporting record volumes of products to China. Shipments of soybeans, corn and pork are bringing smiles back to the American heartland. Or, to put this another way, Beijing is effectively acknowledging it cannot feed the Chinese people. China’s leader, Xi Jinping, recently made such an admission. Last August, he announced what became known as the “clean your plate” campaign to end what he called a “shocking and distressing” waste of food. Just about everyone saw this effort, to get the Chinese people to eat less, as a warning of food shortages to come.

Topic: Farmings’ grand challenge, how to feed the world sustainably.

It is hard to understate the challenges the world faces. Emerging from the throes of the pandemic, global governments must grapple with a climate crisis whose signs are everywhere marked by weather extremes, be it floods, heatwaves or hurricanes. At the centre of this mega-challenge: global agriculture. Faced with the devastating effects of climate change, the industry will need to transform in order to produce sufficient healthy, diverse and safe food for a rapidly growing world population; and it must address its own impact on the environment – more than one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, forestry, and land-use change. At the same time, caloric demand is expected to increase by 70 per cent by 2050, while it is feared that the water supply could fall 40 per cent short of meeting global water needs by 2030. So what can be done to produce more under changing conditions and with less impact on the environment?