What is food production? The FAO definition

June 16, 2015

For primary commodities, production relates to the total domestic production whether inside or outside the agricultural sector, i.e. including non-commercial production and production in kitchen gardens. Unless otherwise indicated, production is reported at the farm level for primary crops (i.e. excluding harvesting losses for crops) and livestock items and in terms of live weight (i.e. the actual ex-water weight of the catch at the time of capture) for primary fish items. Production of processed commodities relates to the total output of the commodity at the manufacture level (i.e. it comprises output from domestic and imported raw materials of originating products). Reporting units are chosen accordingly, e.g. cereals are reported in terms of grains and paddy rice. As a general rule, all data on meat are expressed in terms of carcass weight. Usually the data on production relate to that which takes place during the reference period. However, production of certain crops may relate to the harvest of the year preceding the utilization period if harvesting takes place late in the year. In such instances, the production of a given year largely moves into consumption in the subsequent year.


In the Food Balance Sheets a distinction is made between "output" and "input". The production of primary as well as of derived products is reported under "output". For derived commodities, the amounts of the originating commodity that are required for obtaining the output of the derived product are indicated under "input", and are expressed in terms of the originating commodity. The various factors used, i.e. milling rates, extraction rates, conversion or processing factors, carcass weights, milk yield, egg weights etc., should indicate the average national rate at which these commodities are generally converted.


Data retrieved from FAOSTAT
[verified 4/15/14]

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