Profound changes have taken place in the pattern of global grain supply and demand

The world food security situation is becoming increasingly complex and severe, and the territory of food security is undergoing profound changes.

The large-scale consumption of food by bioenergy is the main reason for the turning change in the current global food supply and demand pattern. In recent years, high oil prices have promoted the rapid development of bioenergy, greatly increased the demand for raw materials such as corn, sugar, rapeseed and soybean, and changed the long-term situation of global food surplus. According to statistics, the global corn consumption has increased by 3.3% annually in recent five years, of which the corn consumed by fuel ethanol accounts for more than 70%. The United States began to develop bioenergy on a large scale in 2002. By 2010, its fuel ethanol consumption of corn reached 128 million tons, equivalent to 41% of the corn production in the United States and 25% of the global corn production. At the same time, 50% of Brazil’s sugarcane production is used for fuel ethanol production, 20% of the world’s soybean oil, 30% of palm oil in Southeast Asia, 20% of the world’s rapeseed oil and 65% of the EU’s rapeseed oil are used for biodiesel production, which has exacerbated the volatility of the global sugar and vegetable oil market. Excluding the corn consumed by fuel ethanol, the average annual growth of global grain consumption was only 1.1%, slightly lower than the population growth level of 1.2% in the same period. The global food supply and demand situation would not have been so tense.

In addition, the rapid economic growth of emerging market countries and the continuous upgrading of consumption structure have promoted the continuous growth of food demand, and gradually changed the pattern of global food supply and demand. For example, India has become the world’s largest importer of palm oil and sugar.

Climate change and frequent extreme weather have also directly affected the effective supply of global food. At present, global grain production is mainly concentrated in areas with less people and more land and rich agricultural resources, such as North and South America, which account for 26.2% of the world’s total grain production, and 55% of the world’s grain exports come from these two regions. However, the food supply in Asia and Africa has been tight for many years, and the annual imported food is equivalent to more than 70% of the world’s total import. Under the background of global warming and frequent natural disasters, the new global food supply and export are more concentrated in a few countries, and the global food supply and price system are more fragile. In particular, any disastrous weather in major food producing countries will lead to significant fluctuations in food production, which will not only have a profound impact on the global food market, but also directly affect the food security of food deficient countries.

After the international financial crisis, the United States and other countries adopted loose monetary policy to increase the risk of global inflation, which is also an important factor leading to the sharp rise of global food prices. In addition, with the increasing trend of “energy” and “finance” of grain, the linkage trend between grain price and oil price is more obvious, which is more closely related to the fluctuation of US dollar exchange rate, more prominent under the influence of speculative capital speculation, and the fluctuation of grain price in the international market will become more intense. As pointed out by WFP officials, the rise in food prices triggered a “silent tsunami”, which not only directly affected the livelihoods of nearly 100 million people and the food problems of more than 1 billion people around the world, but also could lead to a serious political crisis and threaten the economic development and social stability of developing countries.

Over the years, due to the high subsidies for agriculture in developed countries, the international agricultural product market has been seriously distorted, making many developing countries rely too much on the low-cost food provided by developed countries, making serious mistakes in agricultural development strategies and ignoring investment in agricultural development, resulting in the decline of agricultural productivity and the failure to fundamentally solve the problem of food security. Once the food production of major producing countries decreases and global food price fluctuations occur, food deficient developing countries will fall into serious crisis and famine. The lessons of history are profound. Developing countries must attach great importance to food production, actively play the role of policy and investment, especially in the context of global climate change, pay attention to improving the production efficiency of small farmers, strive to strengthen the comprehensive food production capacity and comprehensively improve their food security capacity.

Post time: Dec-16-2021