World food import bill expected at $1.4 trillion in 2012; down 10%

World food import bill expected at $1.4 trillion in 2012; down 10% New Delhi: The global food import bill is expected to decline by 10 percent to USD 1.4 trillion (about Rs 76.28 lakh crore) this year due to fall in expenditure on food items, UN body FAO has said.

"The 2012 forecast for global food import bills is set at USD 1.14 trillion, 10 per cent lower than the record of last year," Food and Agriculture Organisation (AO) said in its latest Food Outlook report.

Lower global prices and freights, together with less cereal purchases are predicted to reduce global expenditure on imported foodstuffs in 2012, the bi-annual global market report added.

"The global food import bill is also likely to be marked by strong to moderate falls in the cost of most foodstuffs compared with 2011," it said.

The highest decline is expected in vegetables and fruits (USD 27 billion) and cereals (USD 24 billion). The value of imports is also estimated to decline for dairy products (USD 14 billion), sugar (USD 12 billion) and vegetable oils (USD 11 billion), it said.

Oilseeds, the only item not expected to have seen a decline, is estimated to increase by 10 percent (USD 7 billion) and fish by 3 percent (USD 3 billion).

Meanwhile, FAO noted that the global food prices declined by 8 percent in October 2012 compared to the same month last year.

"The Index dipped two points to 213 points from September's revised level of 215 points. The decline was largely due to lower international prices of cereals and oils and fats, which more than offset increases in dairy and sugar prices," it added.

FAO's food price index is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar.