Statistics on agriculture and food have a critical role in designing and targeting policies to reduce poverty. They not only provide the foundation for evidence-based decision making, which ensures that available resources are used effectively and efficiently; they are also indispensable to monitor progress towards international development targets and to identify the ways in which those targets can be achieved most efficiently. Allied to appropriate policies, sound and timely statistics are therefore instrumental in making a positive impact to the lives of poor and vulnerable people.
At the heart of FAOSTAT lies the most comprehensive global collection of statistics in food and agricultural production and trade covering around 600 commodities and commodity groups. These data not only serve to strengthen comparative analyses of sectoral, commodity, country and regional developments, they form the bedrock of FAO’s food security indicators, including measurement of the number of undernourished.
Statistics on agricultural production are the most important building blocks for the formulation of development plans and policies. The global coverage and level of detail in collecting and disseminating production statistics is unmatched. A total of 633 crop and livestock commodities, primary and processed, covering aspects of productive activity such as area harvested, animal numbers, output and yields are housed in the division’s statistical databases.
World trade in agriculture stands at well over US$1 trillion annually. International trade is important for economic development, a vital source of foreign exchange earnings, and a critical component of food security. In collaboration with our sister agency, the United Nations Statistics Division, FAO gathers and publishes traded quantities, trade flows and trade values for 540 commodities for every country and region in the world. FAO’s trade data system constitutes the global benchmark for monitoring international product flows in agriculture.