August 03, 2023

Interpretive Summary: Agriculture Outlook 2023-2032 released

Agriculture Outlook 2023-2032 released

By: Sydney Sheffield

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently published the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2023-2032. According to the report, global agricultural and food production is projected to continue to increase over the next ten years, but at a slower pace of growth than the previous decade due to demographic trends.

The 10-year projections are made under the assumption of a fast recovery from recent inflationary pressures, normal weather conditions, no major policy changes, and on-trend evolution in consumer preferences. The possibility that inflationary pressures remain persistent poses downside risks to global food demand and production.

“Surges in agricultural input prices experienced over the last two years have raised concerns about global food security,” OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann said. “Investments in innovation, further productivity gains, and reductions in the carbon intensity of production are needed to lay the foundation for long-term food security, affordability, and sustainability.”

“Meat consumption patterns of consumers in most high-income countries have started to stagnate,” the report states. It predicts that the global average per capita consumption of meat is projected to increase by 0.1% annually, mostly driven by middle and lower-income countries. Worldwide demand for meat is expected to increase through 2032, but per-capita consumption levels in high-income countries are projected to decline in the coming decade, led by drops in Western Europe and North America. Fish that is available for food consumption is expected to grow everywhere, and fastest in Africa, but projected rapid population growth in this region will limit per capita consumption increases. 

Global production of livestock and fish is projected to expand by 1.3% annually over the next decade, slower than seen in the recent past. Poultry meat is projected to account for almost half the increase in total meat production through 2032. “North America and Oceania, which historically have strongly preferred beef, are expected to see the most significant decrease in per capita consumption,” said the report. Noting[SJ1]  that poultry would be the most popular meat (accounting for 41% of meat protein in 2032), followed by pork, beef, and sheep. 

Milk production is projected to grow at 1.5% annually over the next decade, with more than half the increase coming from India and Pakistan, which together will account for almost a third of global milk output in 2032. Milk production in the European Union is projected to decline slightly due to the ongoing transition towards more environmentally sustainable production systems.

The report also examined climate change and its associations with livestock. Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are expected to increase by 7.5% in the next 10 years. The livestock sector is projected to account for 86% of the increased emissions. Interestingly, the agricultural outlook projects declining emissions from agriculture in North America and rising emissions in sub-Saharan Africa as crop and livestock production rises.

Read the OECD-FAO report here.