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Implications for global food security.

China is increasing its grain production capacity by 50 million tonnes in 2023 to enhance food security and reduce dependence on imported animal feed grains. The country's expenditure on grain reserves is expected to total nearly $19.2 billion in 2023. In addition to increasing grain production capacity, China will build more grain storage and logistics facilities and ensure good planning for the sales of grain stockpiles. However, China's plan to increase its grain production capacity and more exports from Brazil does not bode well for US exports to China.

The global palm oil market is expected to tighten this year due to floods and older trees that constrain production in Malaysia and Indonesia. The shift from La Nina to El Nino expected this year could parch plantations in Southeast Asia, where almost all of the world's palm is grown.

The United Nations Secretary-General is urging Ukraine to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative deal that has allowed the country to ship 24 million tonnes of crops since it was first agreed in July. Argentina is experiencing drought, and the nation's GDP may shrink 3% in 2023, according to Itau Unibanco, and the Rosario Board of Trade has slashed its soy estimate to 27 million tonnes.

China's efforts to boost domestic grain production capacity are likely to have implications for global grain markets, particularly for suppliers such as the US and Brazil. The country is sending strong signals to restore positive business sentiment by expanding market access to foreign investors, particularly in the modern service sector.

The tightening of the palm oil market could have broader implications for global food security and sustainability, given the widespread use of palm oil in various products, from food to personal care items and biofuels. The increased demand for palm oil has also driven deforestation and other environmental concerns in the regions where it is produced.

In other agriculture-related news, the US Department of Agriculture has projected that global food prices will continue to rise in 2023, driven by higher demand for grains and oilseeds, as well as supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressures. The agency has raised its forecast for global food price inflation from 5.8% to 6.5%, with the highest increases expected for vegetable oils, sugar, and meat.

The UK needs to invest in strengthening the country's food supply chain infrastructure, particularly in areas such as food processing, distribution, and storage. A move is needed that aims to address some of the vulnerabilities exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as to promote food security and resilience.

In conclusion, agriculture and food security remain crucial global issues, particularly in the face of geopolitical risks, climate change, and supply chain disruptions. Countries such as China are taking steps to boost domestic production and reduce dependence on imports, while global food prices are expected to continue rising due to a combination of demand and supply-side factors. The tightening of the palm oil market and other supply chain challenges further highlight the need for sustainable and resilient agriculture practices, as well as innovation in food systems and infrastructure.

By Matthew Bullman

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