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325. Launching of the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook Report on July 14 (Wed)

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The global food system is exposed to global crises such as climate change and infectious diseases. In addition, as the new coronavirus pandemic has revealed, we are entering an era in which imbalances in the supply and demand of internationally traded agricultural products are spreading instantly through the global food system, affecting the economic performance of countries and regions and widening social disparities. The acceleration of qualitative and quantitative changes in food consumption due to population growth and urbanization, which are expected to continue worldwide, will have the potential to affect all stages of food supply, distribution, and demand. For Japan, which depends on imports for about 60% of its food on a calorie basis, understanding the trends in international agricultural markets is also essential for food security.

Statistics on international agriculture, forestry and fisheries are managed and operated by international organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and are provided as an international public good accessible to all. In addition to this, economists at international organizations regularly collect, analyze, and publish the latest information on trends in international agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, keep a close eye on factors that could disrupt the global food system, such as the effects of abnormal weather, pests, and diseases, and contribute to maintaining global food security by issuing alerts to member countries as necessary. 

In fact, during the first half of 2020, in response to the increasing fear of global food insecurity amid the movement restrictions imposed to contain COVID-19, the international organizations contributed to averting protectionalisms by exporting countiries and panic buying by importing countries through constantly informing the public on the latest status of agriculture comodity markets and stock levels. Economists of the international organizations are also engaged in making medium- and long-term forecasts of agriculture commodity markets, by closely monitoring drivers such as global population trends and the impact of climate change. They also play a role to identify areas of international cooperation based on as an intermediary between developed and developing countries. For example, they have set up the Scientific Group to support the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) scheduled for this year, through scientific knowledge.

The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook, which is released in early July every year, is a report by a group of elite experts engaged in statistical analysis of the world's agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries, based on information provided by member countries, etc. The report provides an up-to-date perspective on trends in agricultural markets over the next decade. This year's launch event will be held by the Director-Generals of both the OECD and FAO on July 5, 2021.

Under the auspices of the FAO Liaison Office in Japan and in collaboration with JIRCAS, an event to explain the report to the Japanese audience interested in international agricultural market trends with simultaneous interpretation in English will be held on July 14, 2021. In this event, experts involved in the OECD-FAO report will give a live presentation on medium- and long-term prospects based on analysis of global agricultural market trends, and exchange views with Japanese experts on strategic policy, science and technology areas necessary to maintain global food security.

Details of the program and how to apply for participation will be announced at a later date via the websites of JIRCAS and the FAO Liaison Office in Japan.

Contributor: HIBI Eriko (Director, FAO Liaison Office in Japan)