Food commodity prices to ease this decade, emissions to rise, says report

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PARIS (Reuters) – Prices of major food commodities are expected to ease in the coming decade after a surge in the past year, helped by higher farm productivity and slowing demand from China, the U.N. food agency and the OECD said.

But emissions from agriculture are projected to climb, mostly from livestock production, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in a report.

Agricultural commodity prices have surged since last year due to booming Chinese imports and tightening crop inventories, leading the FAO to forecast record costs in 2021 for food importers.

But prices of most main agricultural commodities should fall slightly in real terms in the decade ahead, reverting to a long-term trend of improving production meeting rising demand from a growing world population, the FAO and OECD said in their Agricultural Outlook 2021-2030 report on Monday.

Chinese demand would remain a driver of global agricultural markets, particularly for consumption of meat and fish, but rising at a slower pace than the past decade, the report said.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture were projected to increase by 4% over the next 10 years, with livestock accounting for more than 80% of the rise.

“Thus, additional policy effort will be needed for the agricultural sector to effectively contribute to the global reduction in GHG emissions as set in the Paris Agreement,” the FAO and OECD said, adding that productivity gains would cut emissions per unit of output.

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