Food balance sheets

Food balance sheets provide essential information on a country's food system through three components:

• Domestic food supply of the food commodities in terms of production, imports, and stock changes.
• Domestic food utilization which  includes feed, seed, processing, waste, export, and other uses.
• Per capita values for the supply of all food commodities (in kilograms per person per year) and the calories, protein, and fat content.

Annual food balance sheets show the trends in the overall national food supply, disclose changes that may have taken place in the types of food consumed, and reveal the extent to which the food supply of the country is adequate in relation to nutritional requirements.

Food balance sheets provide other relevant statistics that can be used  in designing and targeting policies to reduce hunger in countries. The import dependency ratio for food, that compares the quantities of food available for human consumption with those imported, indicates the extent to which a country depends upon imports to feed itself. The amount of food crops used for feeding livestock in relation to total crop production indicates the degree to which primary food resources are used to produce animal feed which is useful information for analyzing livestock policies or patterns of agriculture. Data on  per caput food supplies are an important element for projecting food demand, together with such other elements as income elasticity coefficients, projections of private consumption expenditure and population.