June 2, 2011


India, China may become net grain importers by 2050



India and China, two of the world's major grain producers, may become disposable meat and grain importers whereas Russia, Canada and the US could be big exporters by 2050, according to International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).


In another 40 years, traditional suppliers of certain cereals will change and so will food preferences in Asia as economic prosperity will wean people off a grain rich to a more diversified diet, said Mark Rosegrant director of environment and production technology division at IFPRI.


"For Asian countries, we expect rice consumption to continue to decline as it has been in Vietnam from 168kg per capita in 2000 to 119kg per capita in 2050", he added. If agricultural production and policymaking continues down its present course there could be severe consequences for many poor people in developing countries, he said. Asian countries could end up exporting bigger quantities of rice mostly to African countries.


The demand for staples will grow in least developed countries but demand for corn and other coarse grains to produce biofuels will grow substantially in developed countries as well the projections show. But growing demand and limited potential to increase supply will force Asian economies including India and China to become net importers of grains and meat if there are no changes in the pressures on the food supply and policies, he added.


The US, Canada and Russia will be able to sustain their production and remain big exporters. Australia s performance depends on weather conditions which have affected yields dramatically in recent years. Brazil and Argentina will become increasingly important exporters.


But food prices could go up 70% by 2050 he says. Using economic modelling based on alternative future scenarios for agricultural supply and demand that take into account the potential impact of climate change IFPRI has been projecting crop yields food prices and child malnutrition up to 2050 and beyond.

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