How Much Food the World Produces and People with Not Enough Food

Below, you will see how much food the world produces and how many people cannot eat enough food to satisfy their daily caloric needs.

The data for the food production [1] and for the number of undernourished people [2] comes from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Global Food Production in 2022

food total production in 2022 - food and agriculture organization data

In 2022, the top food producers were the United States (461M tons), Brazil (172M tons), Russia (160M tons), China (808M tons), and India (399M tons).

We consider only these 25 food items:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Barley
  • Blueberries
  • Buckwheat
  • Cauliflower and broccoli
  • Lettuce and chicory
  • Maize (corn)
  • Meat of asses
  • Meat of buffalo
  • Meat of camels
  • Meat of cattle
  • Meat of chicken
  • Meat of ducks
  • Meat of geese
  • Meat of goat
  • Meat of mules
  • Meat of pig
  • Meat of pigeon
  • Meat of rabbit
  • Meat of sheep
  • Meat of turkey
  • Pineapple
  • Rice
  • Wheat

Below these top countries came Canada (65M tons), Argentina (95M tons), France (65M tons), Ukraine (56M tons), Pakistan (54M tons), Bangladesh (65M tons), Viet Nam (55M tons), Indonesia (96M tons), and Australia (57M tons).

Global Production by Food Item in 2022

food global production by food item in 2022 - food and agriculture organization data

food global production in 2022 - food and agriculture organization data - legends

The top producers of maize (corn) in 2022 were the United States (~348M tons), China (~277M tons), and Brazil (~109M tons).

For rice, China (~210M tons) and India (~196M tons) took the lead. For wheat, China (~137M tons), India (~107M tons), and Russia (~104M tons) were on top.

Russia (~23M tons), Germany (~11M tons), Australia (~14M tons), and France (~11M tons) were on top for barley.

India (~34M tons) and China (~12M tons) produced the most bananas, and China (~47M tons) was on top for apples.

China (~56M tons) and the United States (~12M tons) produced the most meat from pigs. For the meat from chickens, the United States (~19M tons), Brazil (14M tons), and China (~14M tons) were on top. The United States (~12M tons) and Brazil (~10M) were the top producers of the meat from cattle.

Global Food Production from 1961 to 2022

food global production from 1961 to 2022 - food and agriculture organization data

food global production from 1961 to 2022 - food and agriculture organization data - legends

From 1961 to 2022, the global food production has increased by 2,800M tons. The upward trend in food production has been somewhat consistent from 1961 to 2003. Then the trend got steeper from 2004 to 2022, suggesting a rise in the rate of global production of food.

The production of food by China has increased significantly from 1961 to 2022. In 1961, China produced about 99M tons of food, and its food production was 808M tons in 2022, which is a 7-fold increase.

India has also significantly increased its food production during this period. From 76M tons in 1961 to 399M tons in 2022, a 4-fold increase.

The United States produced 157M tons of food in 1961 and 461M tons of food in 2022, a 2-fold increase.

Indonesia went from 15M tons of food in 1961 to 95M tons in 2022, a 5-fold increase.

Brazil went from 20M tons of food in 1961 to 171M tons in 2022, a 7-fold increase.

Argentina produced 14M tons of food in 1961 and 94M tons in 2022, a 5-fold increase.

In 1961, Australia produced 9M tons of food, and it produced 57M in 2022, a 5-fold increase.

Bangladesh went from 15M tons of food in 1961 to 64M tons in 2022, a 3-fold increase.

France produced 24M tons of food in 1961 and 64M tons in 2022, a 1.5 fold increase.

Germany went from 14M tons of food in 1961 to 46M tons in 2022, a 2-fold increase.

food global production from 1961 to 2022 - food and agriculture organization data - 2 year forecast

The upward trend from 1961 to 2022 for the global food production was forecasted to persist in 2023 and 2024, with 3.64B tons produced in 2023 and 3.68B tons in 2024 versus 3.58B tons in 2022.

Number of Undernourished People in 2021

number of undernourished people in the world in 2021

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines a person to be undernourished if that “person is not able to acquire enough food to meet the daily minimum dietary energy requirements, over a period of one year” [2].

The data for the number of undernourished people in 2021 is unavailable for several countries, including the United States, Canada, Russia, China, Australia, New Zealand, and most of Europe.

For the countries for which this data is available, India had the most undernourished people (233.9M), followed by Pakistan (42.8M), Nigeria (34M), Democratic Republic of the Congo (33.8M), and Ethiopia (26.4M).

number of undernourished people by country from 2001 to 2021

number of undernourished people by country from 2001 to 2021 - legends

The number of undernourished people in China went from 130M in 2001 to 37M in 2009. No more data for China was available from 2010 to 2021.

The number of undernourished people in India fluctuated from 2001 to 2021. Between 2001 and 2004, the number rose from 197M to 249M. Between 2005 and 2018, the number then dropped from 247M to 179M. Finally, between 2019 and 2021, the number rose again from 199M to 233M.

Indonesia had its number of undernourished people drop from 41M in 2001 to 16M in 2021.

Nigeria had an increase in its number over these years: from 11M in 2001 to 34M in 2021.

The number of undernourished people for Bangladesh fluctuated between 18M and 24M, and its number had consistently dropped between 2015 and 2021: from 23M to 18M.

Brazil had its number drop between 2001 and 2014 from 19M to 5M. Then no number was available for Brazil from 2015 to 2019. Between 2020 and 2021, its number went from 7M to 10M.

Angola had its number fluctuate between 3M and 11M between 2001 and 2021. There had been a consistent drop between 2001 and 2013, from 11M to 3M. However, the number started rising between 2014 and 2021: from 3M to 7M.

The number of undernourished people in Pakistan fluctuated between 2001 and 2021 from 23M to 42M. Between 2017 and 2021, its number rose from 23M to 42M.

Ethiopia had a consistent drop in its number between 2001 and 2015: from 32M to 14M. Then its number rose between 2016 and 2021: from 14M to 26M.

Afghanistan had a drop in its number between 2001 and 2011: from 9M to 5M. Its number started rising between 2012 and 2021: from 6M to 12M.

The number of undernourished people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo rose from 14M to 33M between 2001 and 2021.

The number of undernourished people in the Philippines fluctuated between 15M and 5M between 2001 and 2021.

Thailand had its number drop from 10M in 2001 to 3M in 2021.

Summary

global food production - undernourished tableau dashboard

In 2022, maize, rice, and wheat were the most produced among the 25 food items we have considered.

Although the world produced more food from 1961 to 2022 and this trend was forecasted to persist in 2023 and 2024, there are still many countries with several millions of undernourished people.

While, for some of these countries, the number of undernourished people has decreased from 2001 to 2021, this number continued to rise for others.

References

[1] Crops and livestock products. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: https://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QCL

[2] SDG Indicators Data Portal. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: https://www.fao.org/sustainable-development-goals-data-portal/data/indicators/2.1.1-prevalence-of-undernourishment/en

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