Duxton’s Agri Bits and Pieces – Vol. 369
Posted on: February 28th, 2018


Within three days of moving into the White House, last year, President Trump withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The remaining 11 signatories have continued without US participation and are in the process of negotiating a new agreement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. In the US, there has been a fairly consistent effort by agricultural interest groups to re-join the Partnership. Recently, the US Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade, representing 95 per cent of the US farming, ranching and food processing sector wrote the following in a letter to US trade representative, Robert Lighthizer:

“American food and agricultural producers and companies are facing significant barriers in these markets that could be addressed within the improved rules and higher standards through reengagement with the TPP countries.”

Interestingly, at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month – President Trump indicated that he might consider joining the TPP again “if it is in the interests of all”. The TPP was expected to have the biggest impact on the agricultural sectors of most of the signatories with significant tariff reductions and quota increases across their markets.



“Indonesia has supplanted Egypt as the world’s largest wheat importer, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report released on Feb. 8. Projected imports are increased for Indonesia 1 million tonnes to 12.5 million on increases for both food and feed use, the report said.

World 2017-18 trade is raised in February as higher exports from Russia, Argentina, and Canada more than offset reduced exports from the E.U. and the United States.

Projected imports are increased for Indonesia and several African countries while reduced for India, the E.U., Iran, Brazil, and Mexico.

Total world consumption is projected 3.1 million tonnes higher, primarily on greater usage from Indonesia and China. Projected global ending stocks are 1.9 million tonnes lower this month at 266.1 million but remain significantly higher than a year ago.”

Source: Donley, Alvin. World Grain. 9 February 2018.


“FAO and Spain’s Telefonica, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, have agreed to work together to leverage the use of cutting-edge digital technologies for agricultural development, food security and nutrition, and specifically, prepare and strengthen farmers in the face of extreme weather events related to climate change.

An agreement signed [on 12 February 2018] […] foresees joint initiatives targeting innovation, digitalization, data analysis and systems so that farmers can access vital information to improve their livelihoods and strengthen their resilience to climate change.

“This partnership will help us face one of the greatest current challenges in the fight against hunger, poverty and the effects of climate change in agriculture. Access to reliable information, including that related to changing weather patterns, is essential to empower farmers, especially those who live in developing countries,” Graziano da Silva [FAO Director General] said.

“We hope that our data, knowledge and technologies will contribute to the development of our society and digitalisation will add value to organizations like FAO that make decisions based on data as a transforming element,” said Trinidad Jiménez [Telefonica’s Global Director of Public Affairs Strategy].

The agreement, which has an initial duration of three years, includes three main areas:

  • Application of the Internet of Things – the digital interconnection of everyday objects to the Internet – to the agricultural sector to optimize processes and make more efficient use of natural resources.
  • Use of Big Data – management and analysis of a huge and varied amount of data – on weather patterns to establish early warning systems. Specifically, it will help analyse how climate change affects population movements […].
  • Digital education and capacity building: part of FAO’s educational content will be incorporated into Telefónica’s open training platforms. An example: users will be able to learn about food systems, nutrition and agricultural development in Miríadax, the first Ibero-American platform for Massive Open Online Courses (better known as MOOCs).

Source: Beeckmans, Beatriz. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. 12 February 2018.


This week’s graphic indicates the breakdown of the Earth’s surface with a focus on the allocation of land to agriculture. It indicates that half of the global habitable land is used for agriculture, which equates to roughly 10% of the entire Earth’s surface. Interestingly, livestock farming uses 77% of all agricultural land while providing 17% of global caloric consumption.