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Global food import prices set to increase by 6%, boost in tropical fruit exports likely
According to the FAO's latest Food Outlook report, the cost of importing food is set to rise in 2017 to $1.413 trillion - a 6% increase from the previous year and the second highest tally on record - driven by increased demand for international demand for most foodstuffs as well as higher freight rates.
Of particular concern are the economic and social implications of the double-digit increases in the food import bills for Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) and Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCS).
"Higher bills do not necessarily translate into more food being bought by them as the cost of importing has greatly escalated," said FAO economist Adam Prakash.
The higher import costs come at a time when inventories are robust, harvest forecasts are strong and food commodity markets remain well supplied.
Opportunities loom for tropical fruits
Tropical fruits are, increasingly, the stars of global trade, with export volumes of mango, pineapple, avocado and papayas on course to achieve a total combined value of $10bn this year, according to the Food Outlook.
Their popularity is promising for poverty relief and rural development as almost all production takes place in developing countries, usually through smallholder farmers with fewer than five hectares.
The FAO estimates that total production of the four fruits could reach 92 million tonnes this year, compared to 69 million tonnes in 2008. Currently, 95% of that output is consumed locally, but rising incomes and changing consumer preferences will likely boost export volumes, especially if freer trade and better market access stimulate further technological gains in distribution.
Major producers of tropical fruits include India, home to around 40% of global mango production, Costa Rica, which supplies a large share of the world's pineapples, China and Brazil - plus Mexico, which is the largest exporter.
Publication date: 11/13/2017
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