WTO Says Ag Trade Faring ‘Better’ During COVID-19; Producers Feeling Pressure

Clint Thompson Trade

A new report from the World Trade Organization (WTO) says agricultural trade has performed “better” than other economic sectors during COVID-19. However, Western Producer says the report notes that farmers and ranchers are still feeling pressure from lower food prices.

“Overall merchandise trade fell sharply in the first half of this year, but agricultural and food exports increased by 2.5% during the first quarter of 2020 when compared to 2019,” the report says.

The news is not all good as the WTO points out that the crisis has put downward pressure on food prices, and therefore on producer revenues. At the same time, the number of hungry people is continuing to climb around the world.

“Initial measures focused on guaranteeing the immediate availability of food have been followed by a second phase of policies seeking to mend broken supply chains and to help agricultural producers cope with the situation,” the report continues.

The impact on trade varied in different regions of the world. Asia’s agricultural exports declined in March, while Europe and North America saw declines in April. South America saw significant increases because of bigger demand in Asia. The WTO says food prices will remain at low levels, putting more pressure on producer revenues.

(From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters)