Issues to Own
Trade means that a country does not have to be self-sufficient in agriculture to be food secure.
Trade can guarantee food security for countries that cannot produce enough food to feed themselves. It helps nations reduce food costs, diversify diets, increase food quality and achieve a level of prosperity that improves the quality of life for their people as well as greater political and social stability.
The Council is working to encourage adoption of policies that advance consistent, fair, rules-based systems for trade and that encourage acceptance of agricultural biotechnology. Achievement of these objectives will help U.S. agriculture gain a larger market share of global grain exports, while helping international customers provide lower costs, higher quality, expanded variety and enhanced food security for their populations.
Grain farmers, their checkoff organizations and U.S. agribusiness can be confident that the trading system the Council has helped build with traditional U.S. partners can successfully be extended to other countries around the world.
The United Nations projects that world population will grow to 9.1 billion by 2040; with much of that growth in developing countries.
Informa Economics, in a study for the U.S, Grains Council, forecasts that worldwide, real purchasing power parity per capita will more than double from $9,727 in 2010 to $24,697 by 2040.
The U.S. Grains Council recognizes that relationship building is a key to increasing exports with current and prospective international customers. In partnership with corn, sorghum and barley farmers – through their checkoff organizations – the Council serves as a catalyst for free trade policy and agricultural advancement that helps countries better serve their consumers, increase economic growth and enhance their food security.
Agriculture is one of America’s most dynamic export sectors – proof that our nation is an effective competitor and relationship builder in the global economy.
The Council has helped the U.S. capture two-thirds of world sorghum exports, dominate global trade in corn, solidify new marketing channels for barley and barley malt and develop a fast-growing world market for distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) that accompanies the spectacular growth of the domestic ethanol market.
The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations defines food security as access by all people, at all times, to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Three key components to food security according to FAO are:
Thanks to the “green revolution,” continuing productivity gains from biotechnology and advances in production technology, sufficient food is at least theoretically available to feed the world’s population. All too often, however, artificial trade policy barriers low incomes, and inadequate transportation, storage and marketing systems block food from flowing to people in need.
In every part of the world, adverse weather periodically affects food production. Agricultural trade is a common-sense, efficient safety net. For example, the droughts and fires that occurred in Australia in 2008 and 2009 made that country unable to fulfill many grain delivery contracts it had signed. Through international trade, the U.S., Ukraine and other countries stepped in to make up the shortfall. This occurs routinely; no country is immune from weather events, and all countries benefit from the trade safety net. Some countries have no alternative to trade.
The affordability of food is a major concern around the world. People in developed countries devote less than 20 percent of their income to food – in the United States, less than 10 percent – while in developing countries, more than half of household income is often spent on food. Better availability and more choice through trade can significantly reduce costs to consumers in the developing world.
Agricultural trade advances peace around the world because it fosters food security, socio-political stability, national security and enduring international partnerships. Economic integration, interdependency, and systems of mutual advantage through trade are powerful incentives for global political cooperation.
U.S grain products not only feed people; they also stimulate economic growth among our trading partners. Efficient transfer of food supplies from surplus countries like the United States to deficit countries throughout the world allows these countries to move up the international value chain. Instead of spending disproportionate resources pursuing the expensive yet elusive goal of food self-sufficiency, they can focus on efficiently developing the resources they do have in areas of comparative advantage.
The United States is known around the world as a reliable, long-term supplier of high quality corn. The U.S. Grains Council recognizes this fact and helps bolster confidence in U.S. corn by providing a yearly Corn Harvest Quality Report which evaluates the U.S. corn crop prior to harvest.