• News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
  • Editorial Calendar 19-20
BW Businessworld

India To Be Most Populous Nation By 2026: OECD FAO Outlook

India to become most populous nation by 2026 with higher milk consumption, but a credit of efforts can make it contribute 42 per cent of the total milk productivity increase of world, in the coming decade.

Photo Credit : Shutterstock


According to the latest report by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations (FAO) for the year 2017-26, global food commodity prices are projected to remain low over the next decade if, we compare it from previous peaks.

The reason for this projection is a demand growth in a number of emerging economies, which is well in expectation of remaining slow and bio fuel policies have contracted impact on markets.

The outlook suggests that the completed replacement of cereal (muesli, cornflakes, puff rise etc.) stocks by some 230 million metric tonnes (MMT) over the previous decade. Combined with other stocks of sufficient quantity for many of commodities may also be helpful to put a check on world prices. Report had also mentioned that food prices are back to expected levels after the food price crash of 2007-08.

Interesting part of report is to predict a per capita demand for food staples to remain constant. Exception may be countries like Somalia, Liberia, Uganda, Venezuela (may be due to current crisis) and other underdeveloped nations or nations with serious socio-economic crisis. Whatever additional protein and calorie consumption will be there is expected to be satisfied by- vegetables, oil seeds and dairy products. A sensitive issue of meat consumption may be a limited issue to India itself, as overall meat consumption for the next decade is expected to remain much lower. China though is blamed for higher meat consumption during previous decade.

By 2026, average calorie availability is projected to reach 2,450 kcal per person per day in least developed countries, and to exceed 3 000 kcal in other developing countries. Food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms will nonetheless remain a persistent global problem, requiring a coordinated international approach, according to the report.

Future growth in crop production had been projected to be widely attained through higher yields - 90 per cent of the increase in maize production is expected to come from increased yields and just 10 per cent from area expansion, the data of wheat consumption is not very clear.

Growth in meat and dairy production, by contrast, is expected to come from both larger masses and higher output per-animal. Milk production growth will increase when compared to the previous decade, most notably in India and very much in Pakistan. It is foreseen that aquaculture would dominate growth in the fish sector and farmed fish production will be the fastest-growing source of protein among all commodities analysed in the published outlook.

There is a projection of projection of agriculture and fish trade to remain exactly half of previous decade. It is also projected that volume per commodity of said items may remain only two per cent of average or even less. Market dependence of export of agrarian commodities is also expected to rotate around few countries. The reason of agrarian growth to remain low is macro-economic factors than agriculture itself. It may not be good news for nations who are emerging as major exporters in niche, for instance India in premium tea and rice segment.

OECD secretary general Angel Gurria, said in French capital “Any unexpected event such as they happened in past may easily lead the projections to different track, therefore I request an essential effort by various government to make full effort to work for eradication of undernourishment and be ready for unexpected food challenges”. He had also emphasized on sustainable growth in food supplies to cater increasing world population and its forthcoming needs.

“The report foresees that the average calorie availability per person per day will increase in least developed countries and in most emerging economies,” said FAO director general José Graziano da Silva. “But we also know that more food alone is not enough to eliminate undernourishment and other forms of malnutrition. Access to the additional calories is extremely important. More challenging is the fight against malnutrition: Fighting malnutrition requires a diversified, safe and nutritious diet, ideally produced with a lower environmental footprint.”

Southern Asia to Remain Focus Area:

Each year the outlook covers a special feature, and this year it covers Southeast Asia. Economic growth has been strong and the agriculture and aqua-food sectors have developed rapidly in the region. The report has finding that this broad-spectrum growth has enabled the region to significantly reduce undernourishment in recent years, though report does not indicate disturbed regions of Southeast- Asia. However, the growth of agriculture and fisheries, in particular in the export-oriented fish and palm oil sectors (specially concentrated to few nations), has led to rising pressure on natural resources that has made countries like India on traditional edible oil consumption pattern changes.

A greater focus on sustainable development in Southeast Asia will slow the growth of palm oil production, agreeing to the published outlook. Across the agronomic sector, yields will continue to increase, but cropland had been projected to expand by only 10 per cent over the next decade, compared to 70 per cent over the previous decade.

Better resource management and increased research and development (R&D) will be needed to achieve sustainable output growth across the agronomic sector. Support for rice production could also be re adapted to facilitate the diversification of agriculture. Given the South-Asian region’s sensitivity to climate change, funds to facilitate adaption will be required.

Few Important Points of Report Are:

India to become most populous nation by 2026 with higher milk consumption, but a credit of efforts can make it contribute 42 per cent of the total milk productivity increase of world, in the coming decade.

Higher meat demand will be concentrated to large income groups, assessed to remain at one per cent, than six per cent in previous decade.

Wheat production may account 85 per cent of growth and maize at 90 per cent of growth in grain produces. Though only two per cent of the area is projected to grow under total harvest area. US had been projected as major producer in grains for coming decades as well. Report has though refrained from indication of the effect which may arise from recent agrarian subsidy cuts in US.

Sugar demand may increase in rapid pace; growth may be higher than eight per cent in next 10 years which is around 1.5 per cent lower than previous decade.

Aqua-food may contribute half of total animal protein consumed majorly in Southeast Asian nations.

Production of bio-fuel that will play a key role in transition of entire trade climate may grow by 17 per cent in coming decade. Among total production of fish other sea food items may overtake it by next decade.