Monday, June 16, 2008

Food Production Around the World

As the global availability of food tightens and prices increase greatly, I was curious where food is actually being produced in the world. The UN's FAO Stat website obliged my desire:

The tables are also in a Google Doc Spreadsheet for anyone who wants it.

Aside: I am a huge fan of statistics and those who provide them. So much so that I am willing to overlook transgressions of agencies that produce them. CIA as long as you keep publishing your World Factbook, I am willing to look past your "minor" infractions such as secret wars and extraordinary renditions. Likewise, UN keep those juicy FAO statistics on world food output and consumption coming and mum is the word on the oil for food scandal and peace keeper sex abuse problems.

Quick thoughts on the numbers:

1) China is the #1 food producer of the world, leading in all 3 categories. China has only 6% of the world's surface area and yet they are able to produce over 20% of the total amount of food in the world, which is good considering they also have 20% of the world's population.

2) While the US and China produce almost the same about of cereals, the Chinese produce almost twice as much meat as the US does. I didn't realize that the Chinese produced that much more meat than the US did.

3) China produces an astounding 1/3 of all fruits and vegetables in the world. They actually produces more tonnes of fruits and vegetables than they do of grains. They either eat a lot of fruits and vegetables or else they are a big exporter.

4) India has 1/3 the land mass of either the US or China, but produces a little less than 1/2 as much grain, meaning they get more output per acre of land than either the US or China. But with 17% of the world's population, they only produce 10% of the world's cereals.

5) The US produces 17.4% of the world's grains which is close to its 20% share of world GDP and much larger than its 5% of world population. The US has a much lower percentage of world fruit and vegetable production. I believe this has to do with the fact that government subsidies are given to grain manufacturers but not to fruit and vegetable producers. I wonder what would happen if the US got rid of all agricultural subsidies?

6) For having the 4th largest population, Indonesia isn't really producing a lot of food, but then again they only have 1/5 the amount of land that the US does.

7) Both Canada and Russia have lots of land, but neither produces a lot of food. I wonder if this will change in the future.

1 comment:

Bhanu Prakash said...

Dear Sir,
Above information furnished for world food production capacity is very important particularly role of India.Since just covering only 2% land and producing 10 % food production is saving Indian Population.India where the main food is grains, can't survive without it.
But sorry to say as one of the agricultural based country is not having sufficient supply of seeds. fertilizer and proper storage system.

Bhanu Prakash

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