Food markets are more stable and prices for most agricultural commodities are sharply lower than they have been in recent years, according to the latest biannual food outlook report from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Highlighting “bumper harvests and abundant stockpiles” as the key factors in helping drive down international food prices, the report’s focus on meat, observes that although meat prices remain high they “could be stabilising”. This view is based on the Organisation’s September meat price index which, while remaining on a historic high at 22 points up versus the same time last year, registered only a slight increase over August (0.3 of a point), after months of steady hikes.
Commenting specifically on pigmeat, the FAO outlook states that world production is anticipated to grow by 1.4% to 116.1 million tonnes in 2014, aided by lower feed costs. This increase in output is forecast to stem from developing countries, while little change is expected in the developed countries.
“Asia is the leading pigmeat producing region, accounting for more than half of the world total,” states the outlook summary. “Strong consumer demand and government support policies are anticipated to combine to boost China’s output by 2.3%, to 56.7 million tonnes, equivalent to almost half of the world total. Elsewhere, in Asia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, similar rates of growth are foreseen.
“Conversely, in Japan and the Republic of Korea, production is anticipated to fall, reflecting diminished breeding herds and outbreaks of porcine endemic diarrhoea virus (PEDv).
“In the Americas, Brazil is set to increase output to a record 3.5 million tonnes, stimulated by reduced feed costs and favourable export prices. Steady growth is also anticipated for Mexico, underpinned by improved genetics and productivity.”
FOA add that production in the EU is forecast to be unchanged at 22.1 million tonnes, while the impact of PEDv in the US is “projected” to cause a 1.9% fall in pigmeat output. Canada’s production, meanwhile, is forecast for a slight increase.
The outlook document also observes that animal diseases and trade prohibitions continue to take “centre stage”.