The state of food and agriculture 2023: revealing the true cost of food to transform agrifood systems

  • 06/11/2023
  • FAO

The global agrifood systems impose huge hidden costs on our health, the environment and society, equivalent to at least US$10 trillion a year, according to this analysis by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), covering 154 countries. 

Agrifood systems generate significant benefits to society, including the food that nourishes us and jobs and livelihoods for over a billion people. However, their negative impacts due to unsustainable business-as-usual activities and practices are contributing to climate change, natural resource degradation and the unaffordability of healthy diets. Addressing these negative impacts is challenging, because people, businesses, governments and other stakeholders lack a complete picture of how their activities affect economic, social and environmental sustainability when they make decisions on a day-to-day basis. The State of Food and Agriculture 2023 looks into the true cost of food for sustainable agrifood systems. The report introduces the concept of hidden environmental, health and social costs and benefits of agrifood systems and proposes an approach – true cost accounting (TCA) – to assess them.