Worldwide Food Exports Statistics

Published: 06th August 2010
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To some countries the export of food is critical to their economy. This article looks at the amount of food different countries export as a percentage of their total exports based on 2005 statistics.



The small African nation, Burundi, has the highest percentage of food export of all countries with 87% of its export coming from food. The vast majority of this is from Coffee. Another Coffee rich country, Panama, is second in the list (86%) followed by Nicaragua and Kiribati (both 85%).



The majority of the countries that rely heavily on food exports are smaller, and sometimes poorer, countries. Part of the reason is that it is difficult for them to manufacture in other areas so food, which is a natural resource, becomes an integral part of their economies. If they have natural access to food raw materials they are more easily able to take advantage. Smaller countries are also able to focus specifically on one industry. The reason the statistics are not as high for most of Europe and the United States, for example, is that they have so many other manufacturing industries which they export, thus meaning the percentage of food manufacturing is significantly lower. Not all small countries have the natural resources to export food, but those who have are in a position where they have to take advantage of this.



Considering it is the country with the highest food exports in the world, Burundi is obviously top of the list in Africa. This is followed by Malawi with 80% and then there is a big gap to Tanzania, which is at 57%. In South Africa food accounts for only 9% of its exports.



As an average, the region of South America has a high percentage of food exports. The highest individual country is Guyana (62%) followed by Uruguay (55%). Food accounts for 47% of Argentina's exports but only 26% of Brazil's.



North America's food exports are very low, with Mexico only at 5% and the United States and Canada only at 7%. The US in particular, has so many other manufacturing industries that agriculture is not as common. Food export is not necessary for them to survive in the same way as smaller and poorer countries.



The two major countries is Australasia have very different statistics when it comes to food exports. In Australia food accounts for just 17% of exports but it accounts for half of New Zealand's exports. New Zealand has much more food resource than Australia, and a better climate for growing food, with large parts of Australia barren.



Asia is a growing economy, but this has reduced its reliance on food exports. The increase in other manufacturing industries has meant less people are working as food producers. There is no better example than China, where food accounted for 13% of exports in 1990, but in 200 it was only 3%. Thailand and Pakistan have the largest proportion of food exports in Asia (12%) followed by Indonesia (11%). In India it is 8%.



In Europe, Iceland is most reliant on food export (58%), followed by Georgia (36%). Out of the major economies Spain and France have the highest percentage, with 11% and 6% respectively. It is lower for Italy (6%), the United Kingdom (5%) and Germany (4%). In Russia it is only 1%, but they don't have the same access to food raw materials. On average Europe is lower in food exports than most of the world with much imported from other regions such as Africa, Asia and South America.



Andrew Marshall (c)


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