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Durum’s Share in the European Wheat Imports Spikes


Durum’s Share in the European Wheat Imports Spikes

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘EU – Wheat – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

Imports of durum wheat in the EU surged by +25% y-o-y to 6.1M tonnes, reaching $1.7B in 2020. Over the last year, the share of durum supplies by volume in the total European wheat imports increased from 15.4% to 19.2%. Italy represents the largest importer of durum wheat in the EU. Belgium emerged as the fastest-growing European importer of durum wheat in 2020. The total imports of all types of wheat estimated at 32M tonnes or $7.4B in value terms.

European Imports of Durum Wheat

In 2020, imports of durum wheat in the EU surged to 6.1M tonnes, with an increase of +25% against the previous year’s figure. In value terms, durum wheat imports soared by +29.0% y-o-y to $1.7B in 2020. Over the last year, the share of the durum wheat supplies (by volume) in the total European wheat imports increased from 15.4% to 19.2%.

Italy represented the major importing country with an import of around 3.2M tonnes, which amounted to 51% of total imports. Belgium (866K tonnes) occupied the second position in the ranking, followed by Spain (498K tonnes) and Germany (372K tonnes). All these countries together occupied approx. 28% share of total imports. Poland (264K tonnes), the Netherlands (263K tonnes), Portugal (145K tonnes), Greece (103K tonnes) and Luxembourg (96K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

Imports into Italy in volume terms increased by +27.8% in 2020. Belgium (+163.7%), Poland (+105.5%), Portugal (+51.0%), Greece (+7.6%) and Luxembourg (+5.5%) displayed positive paces of growth. Moreover, Belgium emerged as the fastest-growing importer imported in the EUin 2020. By contrast, Germany (-3.7%), Spain (-8.3%) and the Netherlands (-30.5%) illustrated a downward trend over the same period.

In value terms, Italy ($950M) constitutes the largest market for imported durum wheat in the EU, comprising 55% of total imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Belgium ($200M), with a 12% share of total imports. It was followed by Spain, with a 7.7% share.

In 2020, the durum wheat import price in the EU amounted to $282 per tonne, increasing by 3.5% against the previous year. Average prices varied somewhat amongst the major importing countries. In 2020, major importing countries recorded the following prices: in Germany ($319 per tonne) and Luxembourg ($304 per tonne), while Poland ($214 per tonne) and Belgium ($230 per tonne) were amongst the lowest. In 2020, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Spain, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Total European Wheat Imports

In 2020, approx. 32M tonnes of wheat were imported in the EU; flattening at the previous year’s figure. In value terms, wheat imports rose by +2.2% y-o-y to $7.4B (IndexBox estimates) in 2020.

In 2020, Italy (8M tonnes), distantly followed by the Netherlands (4.4M tonnes), Spain (4.2M tonnes), Germany (4M tonnes) and Belgium (3.8M tonnes) were the largest importers of wheat, together comprising 77% of total imports. Romania (1.2M tonnes), Portugal (1.2M tonnes), Austria (1.2M tonnes), Greece (0.9M tonnes), Poland (0.9M tonnes) and Latvia (0.7M tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

In value terms, Italy ($2B) constitutes the largest market for imported wheat in the EU, comprising 28% of total imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by the Netherlands ($962M), with a 13% share of total imports. It was followed by Spain, with a 13% share.

The wheat import price in the EU stood at $233 per tonne in 2020, picking up by +2.9% against the previous year. Average prices varied somewhat amongst the major importing countries. In 2020, major importing countries recorded the following prices: in Italy ($256 per tonne) and Portugal ($243 per tonne), while Poland ($199 per tonne) and Austria ($207 per tonne) were amongst the lowest.

Source: IndexBox Platform

sweet corn

Thailand, Hungary and France Lead Canned Sweet Corn Exports

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Sweet Corn Prepared Or Preserved – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

In 2020, global preserved sweet corn exports rose by +4.1% y-o-y to $1B. Thailand, Hungary and France head the list of the largest exporters worldwide. The average export price for preserved sweet corn remained relatively unchanged in 2020. Germany, the UK, Japan were the prime destinations for imported last year. 

Preserved Sweet Corn Exports by Country

In 2020, the amount of sweet corn prepared or preserved exported worldwide rose modestly to 799K tonnes, increasing by +3.1% against the previous year. In value terms, exports expanded by +4.1% y-o-y to $1B (IndexBox estimates) in 2020.

Thailand (213K tonnes), Hungary (193K tonnes) and France (130K tonnes) represented roughly 67% of total exports of sweet corn prepared or preserved in 2020. The U.S. (70K tonnes) occupied the next position in the ranking, followed by China (57K tonnes). All these countries together occupied near 16% share of total exports. The following exporters – Spain (25K tonnes) and Belgium (22K tonnes) – each amounted to a 5.8% share of total exports.

In value terms, Hungary ($228M), Thailand ($216M) and France ($193M) were the countries with the highest levels of exports in 2020, together accounting for 61% of global exports. France recorded the highest rates of growth regarding the value of exports.

The average export price stood at $1,307 per tonne in 2020, approximately mirroring the previous year. Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was China ($2,244 per tonne), while Thailand ($1,013 per tonne) was amongst the lowest. In, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Thailand, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Major Importers of Preserved Sweet Corn

In 2020, Germany (85K tonnes), the UK (75K tonnes), Japan (59K tonnes) were the largest importers of preserved sweet corn. They were followed by Russia, South Korea, Spain, Belgium, France, the U.S., Italy, Poland and the Philippines. These twelve countries accounted for 60% of the total global import.

In value terms, the largest preserved sweet corn importing markets worldwide were Germany ($117M), the UK ($107M) and Japan ($97M), with a combined 31% share of global imports. Spain, Belgium, South Korea, Russia, France, Italy, Sweden, Poland, the U.S. and the Philippines lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 32%.

Source: IndexBox Platform

agriculture agricultural foreign

State Economies Most Dependent on Agriculture

The past few years have been challenging ones for the agriculture industry. The threat of global climate change has continued to produce warmer temperatures and more extreme weather events that threaten crops and livestock, and this summer, the U.S. is currently experiencing serious drought in some of its key agricultural regions in California, the upper Midwest, and the Southeast. Trade policies under the Trump Administration reduced agricultural exports and incomes while raising costs on imports of key equipment and supplies. The COVID-19 pandemic brought additional uncertainty to commodity markets and has continued to disrupt the supply chains that farmers rely on to sell their products.

These recent difficulties have made it harder than ever to prosper as a farmer, particularly on smaller-scale farms. But long-term trends suggest that agriculture’s role in the economy has been shifting for much longer. What has historically been one of America’s most important industries now has a starkly diminished role in terms of job creation and GDP.

Farm employment has steadily decreased in the postwar era—as far back as the BEA’s data goes—but really for more than a century. As more of America moved out of rural areas and into denser, more economically varied communities following the Industrial Revolution and the growth of manufacturing and other industries, fewer people remained working on farms. This trend has continued in the modern era even more rapidly as agricultural processes have become more efficient and economic opportunities in other sectors have grown.

Agricultural activities have also dropped as a share of GDP in recent decades. After reaching nearly 3.5% of GDP in the early 1970s, farming today represents 0.63% of the economy. One of the reasons for this decline is that farming’s economic value has simply been outstripped by growth in other sectors.

But the downward trends in agriculture as an employer and economic engine in the U.S. should not be taken as signs that the industry is going away. By the measure of total factor productivity—essentially a ratio of agricultural inputs like land, labor, capital, and materials to outputs of crops and livestock—farms today are far more productive than they have ever been, part of a long-running trend dating back to at least the late 1940s.

One of the main factors behind this growth in productivity has been technological innovation in the agricultural sector. Improved seeds and fertilizers, pesticides and other crop protection techniques, and more efficient tools for harvesting and processing agricultural products have all contributed to increased yields and productivity. Farms have also increasingly shifted toward monoculture, producing fewer types of crops or livestock, to achieve economies of scale.

While these shifts over time have moved the U.S. away from a heritage of small, independent farmers, agriculture remains big business and a leading industry in many states. Many of the U.S.’s rural states around the Great Plains region remain highly reliant on agriculture, as their abundant land, good soil, and climate provide favorable conditions for raising crops and livestock.

To identify the states most dependent on agriculture, researchers at used data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis to calculate the percentage of total state GDP accounted for by farms in each state. Farms include establishments engaged in crop and animal production mainly for food and fiber. Researchers also calculated the farm industry’s share of total employment, and reported that data alongside the total GDP from farming and total farm employment in each state.

Here are the state economies most dependent on agriculture.

State Rank      Farming share of GDP   Farming share of total employment   Total farming GDP  

Total farming employment

South Dakota   1 5.78% 5.07% $3,174,300,000 31,273
Nebraska   2 4.62% 4.07% $6,005,200,000 54,700
North Dakota   3 4.46% 4.85% $2,551,300,000 28,484
Iowa   4 4.30% 4.24% $8,374,200,000 88,874
Idaho   5 4.28% 3.93% $3,583,400,000 42,154
Montana   6 3.23% 4.30% $1,711,600,000 29,879
Kansas   7 2.55% 3.23% $4,501,000,000 62,910
Wyoming   8 1.66% 3.58% $671,800,000 14,781
New Mexico   9 1.28% 2.49% $1,347,600,000 28,135
Mississippi   10 1.27% 2.42% $1,478,000,000 39,132
Minnesota   11 1.27% 1.97% $4,880,500,000 75,401
Oklahoma   12 1.26% 3.27% $2,547,100,000 76,389
Wisconsin   13 1.25% 2.31% $4,358,500,000 86,560
Vermont   14 1.13% 2.11% $385,600,000 9,316
Kentucky   15 1.06% 3.21% $2,282,200,000 82,641
United States   – 0.63% 1.28% $136,080,000,000 2,601,000


For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on’s website:


Global Sorghum Production is Booming Due to Strong Demand in China

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Sorghum – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

In 2021, global sorghum production will grow by 5%, boosted by growing supplies to China. Sorghum imports to the country are expected to rise by 28% compared to the previous year, driven by the increasing demand for animal feed. Prices will continue to rise in line with other cereals, following accelerated food inflation. The advantage of sorghum as a more drought-tolerant crop will allow this product to compete seriously with corn and will further stimulate market expansion.

Key Trends and Insights

In 2021, global sorghum production is expected to increase by 5% y-o-y to 61.2M tonnes, thanks to the expansion of cropland and expected favorable weather conditions. The largest crop gains are expected in Argentina (+30% y-o-y), where the crop area increased by 27% y-o-y, as well as in the U.S. (+14% y-o-y) and Mexico (+17%), which expanded sorghum fields by +14% y-o-yand 4% respectively.

Global sorghum exports are expected to grow by 23% y-o-y, primarily driven by China’s continued massive grain purchases for animal feed. According to USDA forecasts, imports to China will increase by 28% y-o-y by the end of 2021 due to the increased demand for animal feed.

In the context of strong demand, prices for sorghum are expected to rise alongside other rising grains. Global food inflation is accelerating due to rising demand for food and animal feed, as well as the increased ethanol and renewable fuel production. In the U.S., a leading producer country that supplies 74% of sorghum to the global export market, the season-average farm price per product increased from $103 per tonne in September 2020 to $155 per tonne in April 2021.

According to forecasts by IndexBox, the sorghum market will continue to grow during the next decade, primarily due to the growing demand for livestock feed worldwide. An increase in demand for gluten-free products in a growing population may be an additional stimulus for market development since sorghum is the main component in such products. Sorghum can compete with corn as an alternative and more drought-resistant crop, which in the context of global climate change is also becoming a stimulus for the development of the sorghum market.

Global Sorghum Production

Global sorghum production stood at 58M tonnes in 2020, therefore, remained relatively stable against 2019. In value terms, sorghum production skyrocketed to $30.5B in 2020 estimated in export prices.

The countries with the highest volumes of sorghum production in 2020 were the U.S. (8.4M tonnes), Nigeria (6.5M tonnes) and Ethiopia (5.6M tonnes), together comprising 35% of global production. From 2012 to 2020, the biggest increases were in Ethiopia, while sorghum production for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Global Sorghum Imports

In 2020, purchases abroad of sorghum increased by 22% to 6.6M tonnes, rising for the second consecutive year after six years of decline. In value terms, sorghum imports skyrocketed to $1.6B (IndexBox estimates) in 2020.

China dominates sorghum import structure, reaching 4.8M tonnes, which was approx. 73% of total imports in 2020. It was distantly followed by Japan (382K tonnes), making up a 5.8% share of total imports. Mexico (232K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

In value terms, China ($1.2B) constitutes the largest market for imported sorghum worldwide, comprising 71% of global imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Japan ($85M), with a 5.2% share of global imports. It was followed by Mexico, with a 4.4% share.

In 2020, the average sorghum import price amounted to $249 per tonne, approximately mirroring the previous year. Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was Mexico ($313 per tonne), while Spain ($205 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

Source: IndexBox Platform

food systems

Striving for Sustainability in Global Food Systems

As the global community gears up for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit, it is significant that preparations are also underway by Global Reporting Initiative to deliver a new sector reporting standard for agriculture, aquaculture, and fishing. The Summit aims to leverage the power of food systems to deliver progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet, unlocking the contribution of companies in the food production sectors will be impossible without clarity on their sustainable development impacts.

As part of GRI’s Sector Program, which aims to deliver 40 Sector Standards over the coming years, the exposure draft version of the Sector Standard for Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Fishing is currently out for public comment. The Sector Program has a remit to provide the global best practice for transparency within sectors, helping organizations meet stakeholder expectations for comprehensive and comparable sustainability reporting.

We are prioritizing agriculture, aquaculture and fishing because these sectors provide for basic and essential societal needs: food, most obviously, but also raw materials, such as fibers and fuels. They also have shared and overlapping materiality, which steered our rationale for bringing them under one umbrella.

The Standard will add to the reporting landscape for the sectors, bridging the gap on sector topics where stakeholder expectations are evolving and scrutiny is increasing. It will deliver disclosures that consider biodiversity and natural resources, measures to mitigate climate change, as well as how to adapt farming and fishing practices in ways that minimize their negative impacts.

This focus closely dovetails with the objectives of the Food Systems Summit, for which the pre-summit activity starts in July. The UN articulates the aims as ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all; shifting to sustainable consumption patterns; boosting nature-positive production; advancing equitable livelihoods; and building resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks, and stress.

Research and rationale

The draft Standard’s content is the culmination of more than 12 months of rigorous research by our Sector Team, drawing on authoritative sources and a multi-stakeholder process. A 19-member expert working group was instrumental in developing the exposure draft. Reflecting diverse backgrounds, it includes representatives from five continents and constituencies, with a unique combination of sectoral skills and organizational experience, including crop and animal production, aquaculture, and fishing.

The proposed Sector Standard will help companies increase recognition and understanding on their shared sustainability challenges. It includes relevant reporting topics that are covered by GRI’s (sector-agnostic) topic-Specific Standards – for example, climate adaptation, biodiversity, waste, food safety, and occupational health – as well as introducing seven new topics.

By including topics not covered by existing GRI Standards, we have expanded the breadth of reporting guidance for agriculture, aquaculture, and fishing organizations to identify their most significant impacts – thereby supporting decision-useful data that can be a catalyst for the adoption of more sustainable practices.

The seven new topics

The newly introduced topics in the draft Standard are:

1. Food security recognizes the sectors’ central role in food production, guiding organizations to describe commitments to ensure their operations contribute to the stability of food supply and access to food, including how they work with other organizations.

2. Land and resource rights calls on companies to report how they respect individuals’ and communities’ land rights (including those of indigenous people). It also asks about their operations and suppliers whose access or rights to natural resources cannot be assured.

3. Living income addresses whether companies provide enough for workers and producers supplying to them to afford a decent standard of living. The topic also deals with reporting on the proportion of employees paid above living wage.

4. Natural ecosystem conversion covers policies, commitments and monitoring tools to reduce or eliminate activities that change natural ecosystems to another use or profoundly change an ecosystem’s structure or function.

5. Soil health guides reporting on soil management plans and fertilizer application.

6. Pesticides use focuses on how organizations manage and use chemical or biological substances for controlling pests or regulating plant growth.

7. Animal health and welfare addresses the approach to animal health planning and use of welfare certification schemes or audits, as well as disclosing the use of any medicinal or hormone treatments.

Grounded in the SDGs

With positive and negative impacts that link to the SDGs, all of the topics covered in this Sector Standard, and the way it is structured, will make it easier for businesses to understand their contribution to the achievement of the SDGs – and how they can contribute towards solutions.

Perhaps more than any other sector, agriculture, aquaculture, and fishing organizations have wide-ranging impacts that touch on all of the 17 SDGs. In particular, this new Standard makes multiple linkages between topics and goals on ending poverty (Goal 1); ending hunger (Goal 2); ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation (Goal 6); promoting decent work for all (Goal 8); reducing inequalities (Goal 10); ensuring sustainable consumption and production (Goal 12); taking climate action (Goal 13); protecting life below water (Goal 14) and life on land (Goal 15); ensuring peace and justice (Goal 16); and building partnerships (Goal 17).

We need your input

The global public comment period to gather feedback on the exposure draft for Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Fishing Sector Standard closes on 30 July. We encourage you to channel your considerations on this draft’s feasibility, completeness, and relevancy by completing an online questionnaire. The more input from all interested groups and stakeholders, the more we can do to ensure the delivery of a Standard that is fit-for-purpose.

Our hope for the final Standard, which we intend to launch in 2022, is to empower organizations to achieve meaningful and consistent sustainability reporting that supports sustainable food systems and encourages responsible fishing and farming practices. We all know that companies within these sectors are essential for providing the food and resources that human wellbeing depends on. Let’s ensure that they can do so in a way that contributes to lasting and sustainable solutions.



Margarita Lysenkova joined GRI Standards Division in 2019 and has been instrumental in the development of the new Sector Program, contributing to the GRI Oil and Gas Sector Standard and leading the pilot project for the Sector Standard for Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Fishing.

With a professional background in corporate, UN and non-for-profit sectors across four countries, Margarita’s expertise spans international labour standards and sustainability. Previous roles include working for the International Labour Organization in Geneva, and in financial reporting with a Belgian multinational. Margarita holds degrees in economics (Saint Petersburg University of Economics & Finance) and business management (ESC Rennes School of Business).


Global Reporting Initiative is the independent, international organization that helps businesses and other organizations take responsibility for their impacts, by providing the global common language to report those impacts – the GRI Standards.


U.S. Beef Market Will Face Rising Prices Due to Expected Livestock Curbs

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘U.S. – Beef (Cattle Meat) – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

Despite prices remaining consistent in the first half of 2021, an increase is expected in the immediate term. The projected 2% fall in the American cattle population by 2022 threatens to increase beef prices by near 5%. Investment into the alternative protein sector has dramatically increased; and the emerging food inflation mitigates income growth from counter-covid support measures, which may hamper the beef market growth. 

Key Trends and Insights

In the first half of 2021, prices remained unchanged against the end of 2020. Previously, beef prices in the U.S. surged on average by 10-14% in May 2020 when the first outbreak of the pandemic was recorded. They remained high until June and then fell slightly in August, stabilizing at around $4 to $9.3 per pound, depending on the type of beef, through to the end of the year.

Beef production is set to fall by 2% in 2021, owing to the decline in the cattle population. The dry weather conditions have led to the depletion of grazing land and the increased cost of animal feed; farmers are now being forced to quicken cattle slaughter and curb the number of livestock. Against a sustained demand for beef, these factors may cause meat prices to rise by 5% on average in 2022.

Rising soybean prices could also accelerate the costs of cattle meals. Expectations of further price increases accelerate not only the price for beef but the overall food inflation in the U.S. Should the inflation not be curbed by monetary authorities, it is to offset the positive impact of the government support measures on income growth and hamper consumer spending, which will spill over to the beef market.

A significant volume of beef and lamb imports are sent to the U.S. from Canada, Australia and Mexico. Canada is also experiencing a fall in the number of head of cattle, while the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is forecasting an increase in the cattle population over 2021-2022, which is to propel exports and mitigate the beef price growth. These factors should consolidate Australia’s position on the American beef market.

The alternative protein market is currently seeing robust expansion. Investment into this sector in 2020 trebled, reaching $3.1В. This may also constrain the growth of the American beef market, particularly taking into account rising prices.

The growing population and the established culture of beef consumption remain key drivers behind beef consumption in the U.S. Despite the above-mentioned risks, the American beef market is forecast to expand gradually to 13.5M tonnes by 2030 (IndexBox estimates).

U.S. Beef Production

In 2020, beef production increased by 0.3% to 12M tonnes, rising for the fourth consecutive year after four years of decline. In general, production showed a relatively flat trend pattern. The most prominent growth rate was recorded in 2017 when the production volume increased by 3.8% y-o-y. Over the period under review, production reached the peak volume in 2020 and is expected to retain growth in the immediate term.

In value terms, beef production dropped slightly to $86.1B in 2020. The total output value increased at an average annual rate of +2.4% from 2012 to 2020; the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with noticeable fluctuations observed throughout the analyzed period.

U.S. Beef Imports

In 2020, supplies from abroad of cattle meat increased by 9.6% to 1.1M tonnes, rising for the third year in a row after two years of decline. In value terms, beef imports rose sharply to $6.4B in 2020.

Canada (282K tonnes), Mexico (239K tonnes) and Australia (219K tonnes) were the main suppliers of beef imports to the U.S., together comprising 69% of total imports. New Zealand, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Argentina lagged somewhat behind, accounting for a further 27%.

In value terms, the largest beef suppliers to the U.S. were Canada ($1.7B), Australia ($1.5B) and Mexico ($1.4B), with a combined 71% share of total imports. These countries were followed by New Zealand, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Argentina, which together accounted for a further 25%.

In 2020, the average beef import price amounted to $5,996 per tonne, increasing by 4.9% against the previous year. Over the last eight years, it increased at an average annual rate of +2.6%. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2014, an increase of 15% year-to-year.

Average prices varied somewhat amongst the major supplying countries. In 2020, the highest prices were recorded for prices from Australia ($6,912 per tonne) and Uruguay ($6,480 per tonne), while the price for Nicaragua ($4,952 per tonne) and Argentina ($5,340 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform


Supply Chain Visibility in Agriculture

Agriculture companies are facing a major challenge of supply chain visibility as of recently when crops treated with pesticides have been sold as organic products. Because of a lack of traceability, farmers are not getting their worth and retailers are losing their credibility too.

Supply chain visibility has been a buzzword for several years and it is not hard to imagine why. With the advent of globalization and the internet in the 90s, the world became a lot more connected and consequently, supply chains became intricately networked and complex.

As companies grappled with this complexity, the need for better visibility was felt acutely. It has been more than two decades since globalization and the internet has now become mainstream, but it is harder than ever to maintain visibility over supply chains.

A survey of 623 supply chain professionals by GEOIDS indicated that visibility is still one of the top 3 priorities, while only 6% of them confessed having complete visibility over their supply chain. It is obvious that maintaining supply chain visibility is a very complex challenge facing agriculture companies today.

One way to look at this issue is through the “people, process, and technology” lens. Often, teams managing different points of the supply chain operate in siloes. To be fair, a lot of agriculture companies do understand this and have put in place processes that enable better collaboration between teams. But unfortunately, supply chains have a habit of being impacted by unexpected events – what if an important supplier collapsed? Or perhaps there was a political change or unexpected weather patterns squeezed supply? The truth is no one can anticipate these events. Even the best teams and the most well-designed processes will find it hard to adapt when the “unexpected” happens within a supply chain.

The challenge then lies with technology – specifically due to the fragmented nature of the technology being used. Teams in agriculture companies often use multiple software solutions to manage different activities of their supply chain, such as contract management, logistics, hedging & risk management, automation & task scheduling, etc. While this software does make it easy to carry out specific tasks, often they do not talk to each other. So someone has to manually collect information from these systems, put it in a spreadsheet, and apply specific algorithms to analyze data to get some visibility – which often takes days and weeks. This severely affects the company’s ability to respond rapidly to changes in the marketplace.

In today’s connected world, it is very important for agriculture companies to have a platform that can connect multiple systems to gather and analyze data, using algorithms specific to commodity supply chains. Such a platform would reliably support collaboration between teams and help supply chain executives adapt to unexpected events, providing a distinct advantage to agriculture firms.

Eka Software Solutions is a global leader in providing digital commodity management solutions, driven by cloud, blockchain, machine learning, and analytics.

To talk to Eka experts please write to


American Vegetable Market Continues to Struggle with Pandemic-Related Disbalances

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘U.S. – Vegetable – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

Fresh vegetable consumer prices in the U.S. increased somewhat noticeably in Q1 2021 but then decelerated in Q2, relaxing slightly against the ongoing food price rally. Owing to the spate of lockdowns and the restructuring of the supply chain, production growth has failed to keep pace with the robust demand spurred by the counter-pandemic financial support measures. Rising production costs and increasing demand for biofuel-oriented oil crops also contribute to tangible food inflation.

According to the USDA data, the average fresh vegetable consumer prices over Q1 2021 exceeded the prices of Q1 2020 by 1.3%, relaxing slightly to a +0.6% surplus in Q2 against the same period of the previous year.

Rising food prices are emerging as an important issue even outside of the vegetable market. The food-away-from-home consumer prices index sees a prominent increase, keeping its pace at +3.8% both in Q1 and Q2 against the same periods of 2020, respectively. Besides the mentioned disbalance on the market, rising demand for biofuels also propels food inflation. Soybean prices are currently seeing a rapid surge driven by the increased use of biofuel derived from soybean oil. In the medium term, this may shift investments from field crops to oil crops, contracting vegetable supply and thereby promoting price growth.

Despite rising prices, vegetable demand in the U.S. remains robust. The covid crisis resulted in a 2% decline in total vegetable production, which was estimated at 44.7M tonnes in 2020 (IndexBox estimates). Nevertheless, there was no dramatic shortage in the domestic market, as that drop was offset by a 2% increase in imports (to 8.1M tonnes in 2020) and a 3% decline in exports (to 2.5M tonnes).

Driven by the growing population, the U.S. vegetable market is forecast to reach 56M tonnes by 2030. The rather high vaccination rate in the U.S. provides an optimistic look to the potential ease of the pandemic in 2021, which will promote consumption in the HoReCa sector. Over 2021-22, however, rising inflation can offset a positive effect from the income support measures and hamper the market growth – an issue which yet requires to get a prominent answer from the government and monetary authorities.

U.S. Vegetable Exports by Country

Canada (1.8M tonnes) is the main destination for vegetable exports from the U.S., with a 73% share of the total shipments. Moreover, vegetable exports to Canada exceeded the volume sent to the second major destination, Mexico (327K tonnes), fivefold.

In value terms, Canada ($2.6B) remains the key foreign market for vegetable exports from the U.S., comprising 82% of total exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Mexico ($232M), with a 7.4% share of total exports.

The average vegetable export price stood at $1,273 per tonne in 2020, rising by 2.3% against the previous year. Over the last eight-year period, it increased at an average annual rate of +2.2%. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2013, an increase of 7.9% year-to-year. The export price peaked in 2020 and is expected to retain growth in the immediate term.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was Canada ($1,422 per tonne), while the average price for exports to Taiwan (Chinese) ($702 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

U.S. Vegetable Imports by Country

In 2020, Mexico (6.1M tonnes) was the largest vegetable supplier to the U.S., accounting for a 75% share of total imports. Moreover, vegetable imports from Mexico exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest supplier, Canada (1.4M tonnes), fourfold.

In value terms, Mexico ($7.3B) constituted the largest supplier of vegetables to the U.S., comprising 70% of total imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Canada ($1.9B), with an 18% share of total imports.

In 2020, the average vegetable import price amounted to $1,291 per tonne, picking up by 9% against the previous year. Over the last eight years, it increased at an average annual rate of +2.5%. As a result, import price reached the peak level and is likely to continue growing in the immediate term.

Average prices varied somewhat amongst the major supplying countries. In 2020, the country with the highest price was Peru ($1,760 per tonne), while the price for Mexico ($1,202 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform


The European Peat Market to Languish Due to New Eco Regulation

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘EU – Peat – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The European peat market is entering a downward trend against the targeted regulation strategy to cut peat output and consumption. The EU is committed to protecting the peat deposits, as they naturally absorb greenhouse gases. Alternatives to peat are increasingly being used in agriculture and other areas, such as energy and wastewater treatment.

Key Trends and Insights

Europe remains committed to reducing peat consumption in a bid to protect natural peat deposits. These deposits are believed to absorb carbon dioxide from the air, contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases. Projects are now underway in Ireland and Sweden to restore the peatlands.

According to USGS data, in 2020, peat production fell in Finland to 8.4M tonnes (-15.3% y-o-y), in Germany to 2.3M tonnes (-4.8% y-o-y), in Latvia to 1.5M tonnes (-13.6%), in Poland to 0.7M tonnes (-19.5% y-o-y), and in Sweden to 1.8M tonnes (-16.7% y-o-y).

Output increased only in Ireland, to 2.8M tonnes (+15.6%) and in Estonia, to 0.9M tonnes (+1.1%). Ireland also intends to curtail peat production, following the country’s shift towards alternative sources of energy, ceasing peat extraction by 2028. Finland has also set similar targets for transferring to alternative energy, but approx. 40% of the country’s energy consumption is still generated by peat and other fossil fuels. Finland intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2035, implying a shift away from peat in the energy sector.

Such a negative trend in terms of peat production is now evident worldwide. According to preliminary estimates, global peat output in 2020 amounted to 29M tonnes, against 33M tonnes in 2019. This trend is to continue in the medium term against rising environmental concerns.

In the period to 2030, the European peat market is forecast to decline to 20M tonnes (IndexBox estimates). Compost made from wood, coconut fibre, deciduous plants, coniferous species and moss is set to replace the use of peat in the agriculture sector. Geotextiles, sand and polyurethane foam filters can act as filtering materials and as an alternative to peat in wastewater treatment.

Peat Consumption by Country

Finland remains the largest peat consumer in the EU, accounting for approx. 50% of the total volume. Moreover, peat consumption in Finland exceeds the figures recorded by the second-largest consumer, Germany, fivefold. The third position in this ranking is occupied by Sweden, with a 10% share.

In value terms, the largest peat markets in the European Union are Finland ($217M), Ireland ($194M) and Germany ($190M), with a combined 45% share of the total market. These countries are followed by Sweden, France, the Netherlands and Poland, which together account for a further 26%.

The highest levels of peat per capita consumption are registered in Finland (1,700 kg per person), followed by Ireland (354 kg per person), Sweden (194 kg per person) and the Netherlands (66 kg per person), while the average per capita consumption of peat in the EU is estimated at 47 kg per person.

Peat Imports and Exports

After two years of growth, overseas purchases of peat decreased by -10.3% to 6.1M tonnes in 2019. Overall, imports, however, saw a relatively flat trend pattern. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2013 when imports increased by 9.2% year-to-year. Over the period under review, imports hit record highs at 6.8M tonnes in 2018 and then declined in the following year. In value terms, peat imports dropped to $649M in 2019.

In 2019, the Netherlands (1.8M tonnes), distantly followed by Germany (1,002K tonnes), France (641K tonnes), Belgium (541K tonnes) and Italy (383K tonnes) represented the major importers of peat, together making up 71% of total imports. Poland (270K tonnes), Spain (202K tonnes), Lithuania (185K tonnes), the Czech Republic (170K tonnes), Austria (122K tonnes) and Hungary (99K tonnes) held a little share of total imports.

In value terms, the largest peat importing markets in the European Union were the Netherlands ($125M), France ($100M) and Germany ($93M), with a combined 49% share of the total imports. Italy, Belgium, Spain, Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 36%.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

weed control

Growing Agricultural Industry to Spur the Demand for Nonwoven Weed Control Fabric

The growing agricultural industry has encouraged farmers to use advanced farming methods for enhancing product quality. Products like nonwoven weed fabrics are necessary for regulating the nutrient content of the soil and maintaining the growth stability of crops.

Nonwoven weeds are fabrics with high durability, elasticity, and strength. They allow air and nutrients to permeate efficiently. They also help in curbing down the maintenance costs of gardens and protects root systems from drastic temperature changes by providing insulation. These fabrics act as a barrier between soil and mulch, thus delaying weed growth.

Weed fabrics permit excellent light transmission and they also have a superior rate of moisture absorption. The protection offered by these fabrics allows plants to grow organically, i.e. without the assistance of herbicides and pesticides, thus improving the quality of the yield.

Rapid urbanization and increasing global population have escalated the demand for staple foods. So, farmers are facing a steep challenge of maximizing the yields without compromising on the farming methods.

This is where nonwoven weed fabrics come into the picture. These crop covers can be laid over seedbeds, thus creating a micro-climate scenario where humidity and heat can be controlled. This accelerates the growth of crops whilst protecting them from adverse climatic conditions.

Extensive gardening to stimulate the demand for nonwoven weed control fabrics

Gardeners use nonwoven weed control fabrics for controlling weed growth and soil erosion. Regulating weed growth is crucial because it can restrain crop growth during their flourishing season. Also, these fabrics are efficient on flat surfaces making them ideal for gardening. Increased demand for household gardening coupled with growing insistence on biodegradable products will boost the consumption of these fabrics over the forecasted timeframe.

Asia Pacific region to showcase increased usage of nonwoven weed control fabrics

Growing demand for Asian agricultural produce across the world has bolstered the utilization of these fabrics in the region. Famers from Japan and India have adopted advanced agricultural methods owing to which the quality of the yield has improved, thus justifying the demand. Also, the increasing population has also escalated the demand for food products, thus stimulating the distribution of nonwoven weed fabrics across the region.

On the other hand, North America is predicted to experience substantial growth over the forecasted timeframe with increased insistence for nurseries. Also, the rising requirement of a range of bulbs, plants, and seeds has assisted in the growing usage of these fabrics. In addition, increased disposable income has led to people investing in household nurseries and farming, thus increasing the demand for these fabrics in the region.

Many leading industry players devise strategies like partnerships, mergers & acquisitions, and product launches to solidify their position in the market. To support this statement with an instance, Plantex, a product of DuPont, is environment-friendly and lasts longer. It is ideally used for surfaces like turf, mulch and gravel. Its chemical-free nature allows the fabric to have effective control over the growth of weed.