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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) say they expect a slower global agricultural production growth in the coming decade.

According to a new report published by the OECD and FAO, global agricultural production is expected to grow 1.5 per cent a year on average over the coming decade, compared with annual growth of 2.1 per cent between 2003 and 2012.

The OECD-FAO Agriculture Outlook 2013-2022 report, which was made available by Erwin Northoff of the FAO Media Relations in Rome to the Ghana News Agency on Thursday, expects prices to remain above historical averages over the medium term for both crop and livestock products due to a combination of slower production growth and stronger demand.

It said limited expansion of agricultural land, rising production costs, growing resource constraints and increasing environmental pressures were the main factors behind the trend; but the report argues that farm commodity supply should keep pace with global demand.

The report said agriculture has been turned into an increasingly market-driven sector, as opposed to policy-driven thus offering developing countries important investment opportunities and economic benefits.

It said production shortfalls, price volatility and trade disruption remains a threat to global food security.

The OECD-FAO Outlook said: ?As long as food stocks in major producing and consuming countries remain low, the risk of price volatility is amplified.

A wide-spread drought such as the one experienced in 2012, on top of low food stocks, could raise world prices by 15-40 percent.?

It said the share of global production from developing countries would continue to increase as investment in their agricultural sectors narrows the productivity gap with advanced economies.

?Developing countries, for example, are expected to account for 80 per cent of the growth in global meat production and capture much of the trade growth over the next 10 years.

?They will account for the majority of world exports of coarse grains, rice, oilseeds, vegetable oil, sugar, beef, poultry and fish by 2022,? the report said.

It said in order to capture a share of these economic benefits, governments would need to invest in their agricultural sectors to encourage innovation, increase productivity and improve integration in global value chains.

?Agricultural policies need to address the inherent volatility of commodity markets with improved tools for risk management while ensuring the sustainable use of land and water resources and reducing food loss and waste,? the report said.

Source: GNA

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