Who will drive global growth in agricultural consumption?

China, India and Sub-Saharan Africa drive global growth

The world’s population will increase from 7.3 to 8.2 billion over the course of the outlook period. Almost all of this population growth will occur in developing countries. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the population will increase from 974 million to 1.3 billion, an increase of 289 million; the population of India will grow from 1.3 billion to 1.5 billion, an increase of almost 150 million. Together, Sub-Saharan Africa and India will account for 56% of total population growth over the next decade, while India overtakes China as the world’s most populous country.

Given their strong population growth, India and Sub-Saharan Africa will also drive a large share of global demand. In addition, China will continue to contribute to demand for several key commodities (Figure 1.3). For cereals, total consumption (including for non- food uses) is expected to increase by 338 Mt over the outlook period. Of this, 38% will come from China, India and Sub-Saharan Africa. This share is lower for wheat and maize (where developed countries play a larger role), but higher for rice (where India alone accounts for 27% of the increase in consumption) and other coarse grains (where Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 41% of the global consumption increase).

Regional shares in commodity consumption growth, 2016-26

Regional shares in commodity consumption growth, 2016-26

China accounts for large shares of the additional consumption of meat (29%) and especially fish (53%), two commodities where the demand growth from India and Sub-Saharan Africa is lower. For instance, India accounts for only 4% of the additional meat consumption. India is a bigger driver of additional demand for fresh dairy products (54%) and vegetable oil (29%), while Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 62% of the increase in roots and tubers.

Figure also indicates the role played by Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia) in demand growth in the coming decade. These countries will contribute to an important degree to the additional demand for rice (24%) and vegetable oil (23%), as well as sugar (17%), fish (12%) and roots and tubers (13%). By contrast, their role is lower for other commodities, fresh dairy in particular.