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World's top 10 exporters and importers of food

Last updated on: March 15, 2011 08:49 IST

World's top 10 exporters and importers of food

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Food inflation is rampant the world over. In Tunisia -- and to some extent in Egypt -- it actually led to the toppling of the government following riots over high food prices. West Asia and North Africa too have seen similar -- and huge -- protests over the hardships people are faced with due to runway inflation.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Global too reported last week that food prices rose for the eighth straight month in February and warned warning that unexpected spikes in oil prices could exacerbate an already precarious situation in food markets.

The prices of all commodity groups monitored increased again last month, except for sugar. Global cereal prices have increased sharply with export prices of major grains up at least 70 per cent from February 2010, owing to a decline in world cereal production last year and growing demand.

All this augurs well for some countries, especially those that are the largest exporters of food. However, it bodes ill for those nations which are the world's largest importers of food.

So let us check out which are the nations that the 10 biggest exporters and 10 importers of food. The following pages rank the countries on the basis of their food exports or imports as a percentage of their GDP.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Top 10 net food exporters

1. New Zealand
Food exports as a percentage of its GDP: 7.50

The food and beverage industry is the lynchpin of New Zealand's prosperity and is the largest manufacturing sub-sector.

As a high export commodity earner for New Zealand, it is a strong contributor towards a positive trade balance.

New Zealand is a major exporter of dairy products, meat, seafood, fruits and vegetables, wine, specialty foods, etc.

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Image: New Zeland

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2. Uruguay
Food exports as a percentage of its GDP: 5.65

In 2010, Uruguay's export-oriented agricultural sector contributed to 9.3% of the GDP and employed a similar share of the workforce.

Meat and sheep farming is Uruguay occupies 59.6% of the land.

Other food exports from Uruguay include dairy products, rice, woof, and beef.

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Image: Uruguay.
Photographs: Reuters
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3. Argentina
Food exports as a percentage of its GDP: 5.60

In Argentina, agriculture provides a fair amount of employment. However, its food and agri-exports are much higher than the number of people engaged in farming.

Argentina exports milk, dairy products, vegetables, fish and other sea foods.

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Image: Argentina
Photographs: Reuters
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4. Costa Rica
Food exports as a percentage of its GDP: 4.70

Costa Rica is focusing on major trends like organics and social values to strengthen its food exports platform.

Costa Rica exports bananas, fruits and vegetables and some dairy products.

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Image: Costa Rica.
Photographs: Reuters
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5. Chile
Food exports as a percentage of its GDP: 3.10

Chile is a food-producing powerhouse and exports whole and processed foods.

The country is a big exporter of fruits, berries, vegetables, fish, shellfish, poultry, meats, and wines.

Chile is the world's largest exporter of fresh grapes, plums, and fresh fish fillets.

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Photographs: Reuters
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6. Malaysia
Food exports as a percentage of its GDP: 2.9

Malaysia is a major exporter of palm oil, meat, halal food, fish and seafoods, and fruits.

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Image: Malaysia.
Photographs: Reuters
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7. Thailand
Food exports as a percentage of its GDP: 2.70

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Image: Thailand.
Photographs: Reuters
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8. Ecuador
Food exports as a percentage of its GDP: 2.50

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Image: Ecuador.
Photographs: Reuters
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9. Denmark
Food exports as a percentage of its GDP: 1.85

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Image: Denmark.
Photographs: Reuters
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10. Brazil
Food exports as a percentage of its GDP: 1.80

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Image: Brazil.
Photographs: Reuters
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Top 10 net food importers

1. Hong Kong
Food imports as a percentage of its GDP: 4.40

Hong Kong, a major Asian economy, imports food to the tune of almost 4.4 per cent of its GDP.

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Image: Hong Kong.
Photographs: Reuters
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2. Lebanon
Food imports as a percentage of its GDP: 3.90

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Image: Lebanon.
Photographs: Reuters
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3. Bangladesh
Food imports as a percentage of its GDP: 3.30

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Image: Bangladesh.
Photographs: Reuters
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4. Algeria
Food imports as a percentage of its GDP: 2.80

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Image: Algeria.
Photographs: Reuters
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5. Sri Lanka
Food imports as a percentage of its GDP: 2.70

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Image: Sri Lanka.
Photographs: Reuters
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6. Egypt
Food imports as a percentage of its GDP: 2.15

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Image: Egypt.
Photographs: Reuters
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7. Morocco
Food imports as a percentage of its GDP: 2.10

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Image: Morocco.
Photographs: Reuters
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8. Saudi Arabia
Food imports as a percentage of its GDP: 1.85

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Image: Saudi Arabia.
Photographs: Reuters
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9. Portugal
Food imports as a percentage of its GDP: 1.80

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Image: Portugal.
Photographs: Reuters
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10. Libya
Food imports as a percentage of its GDP: 1.70

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Photographs: Reuters
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