Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the University of Exeter's online course, Future Food: Sustainable Food Systems for the 21st Century. Join the course to learn more.
A colour photo taken in a greenhouse, to the right is the torso of someone wearing jeans and a check shirt. They have a half open laptop under their right arm.


Most countries around the world keep records of what farmers produce, where they produce it, and how this has changed over time. Records are also kept on what agricultural products are shipped, and where they are shipped to. These records enable us to understand the global food system and how it is changing.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) operates a comprehensive database, known as FAOSTAT, bringing together all known information about agricultural production, trade, food consumption and environmental impacts. This information is free to browse and download.

Open the FAO website on your browser. If you right click on your mouse and select “Open link in new window” you can keep this course website and the FAO website open at the same time, which will be useful for the next step. The home page has lots of options, including language selection in the top right. Change it to whatever you’d prefer.

Now watch the demonstration video, titled ‘EXPLORING CROP DATA IN FAOSTAT’ which you can find in the next step.

The video will help you to:

  1. Identify the crops a particular country produces

  2. Compare crop production with other countries

  3. Investigate what might be causing changes in production over time, and differences among countries.

Later on you’ll be able to share what you learnt with your fellow learners. Good luck!

We are getting you familiar with FAOSTAT because it’s such a valuable resource and will help you with one of this week’s activities where we ask you to study changes in a crop of your choice.

Please note that this external link is taking you to a third party website, which may ask you for personal details. Please read this part of our Privacy Policy for more information. If you are unable to access the website, or to download information, please use the information sources in the video to do the exercise instead.

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Future Food: Sustainable Food Systems for the 21st Century

University of Exeter

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: