Agricultural Needs Grow; So do ProblemsBy Sofía Hanna | Thu, 11/11/2021 - 10:44
This week, FAO released two studies showing pointing that food prices and deforestation are increasing. In Mexico, SADER has been making strides in food production and innovation.
Interested in more? Here are the week’s major headlines in Agribusiness & Food!
- FAO’s “Tropical rainforests under pressure as agricultural expansion drives global deforestation” study reported that agriculture is one of the main reasons behind deforestation, raising concerns regarding food security and climate change. “Increasing the productivity of the agri-food sector to meet the new demands of a growing population and stopping deforestation are not mutually exclusive objectives. More than 20 developing countries have already demonstrated that it is possible to do so. Indeed, the new data confirm that South America and Asia have managed to reduce deforestation,” said QU Dongyu, Director-General, FAO. Considering the multiple linkages between forests, agriculture and food security, FAO introduced a new Strategic Framework to guide efforts to make agri-food systems more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable. While food security is one of the main and most important objectives for most countries, including Mexico, FAO states that strategies to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation need to be implemented following the Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD).
- Global food prices have broken a 10-year record. FAO reports that the cost of a basket of food products has increased continuously for the past three months. The increase in food prices, especially cereals, might lead to an increase in hunger worldwide. Food prices have wildly fluctuated during 2021. Back in June, FAO claimed that food prices were decreasing, as reported by MBN. Now they are back up. These fluctuations put poor communities around the world at risk at a time when they are already experiencing deaths from hunger, which in some cases surpassed those of COVID-19. By the end of 2021, the population in extreme poverty is expected to climb to 745 million, adding 100 million since the pandemic began. Rising food costs will also impact Mexico, which counts corn as one of its main foods. According to data from Grupo Consultor de Mercados Agrícolas, corn imports are expected to reach a record high at the end of 2021 with 17.9 million tons, 11.4 percent higher than the previous year.
- The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Víctor Villalobos Arámbula, announced that productive innovation becomes more important given the challenge of producing healthy foods at accessible prices and reducing the problems that poor nutrition afflict in the Mexican population. Villalobos explained that to feed a growing population, it will no longer be possible to incorporate new areas into food production, so it is necessary to increase the productivity and efficiency of the agri-food system. “We have a stratum of producers who practice large-scale, entrepreneurial agriculture, who apply advanced technologies and who are highly competitive in the international market and in the provision of food in urban centers through self-service chains.”
- Villalobos also announced that Mexico and Serbia are strengthening their collaboration in the agricultural sector. The European nation is characterized by its production models of cereals, grains, raspberries and some fruit trees such as apples. Villalobos said that using new technologies, it would be possible to better manage water in agriculture and strengthen species conservation reservoirs, which will benefit research centers in both countries. The main products that Mexico sold to Serbia last year were tequila, beer, vegetable juices and extracts and corn for planting, while imports were concentrated in soybeans, preparations for animals, raspberries, blackberries, tea or mate grass, extracts yeast, plant parts, juices and plant extracts.