Agrifood Economics

Revealing the hidden costs of agrifood systems to enhance their value

Year: 2023
Author(s): FAO

FAO Agricultural Development Economics Policy Brief, No. 68.

Agrifood systems are invaluable to society. However, they also contribute to climate change and natural resource degradation while failing to provide healthy diets to all. Many of these impacts are not included in market prices and are thus hidden. True cost accounting (TCA) allows estimating the hidden costs and benefits of agrifood systems, providing decision-makers with the evidence needed for their transformation. A national-level TCA assessment for 154 countries reveals that global quantified hidden costs from agrifood systems are highly likely to exceed 10 trillion dollars, revealing the urgent need to factor these costs into decision-making. These new estimates are a first step in raising awareness and should be followed by more targeted TCA assessments.

Background document to the FAO flagship The State of Food and Agriculture 2023.
Publication type: Policy brief
Region: Global
ISSN: 2520-6540 (online) / 2520-6532 (print)