Top Net Food-Importing Countries

What are the countries with the most net imports of agricultural products?
Net imports = imports-exports
Source: FAO. For the year 2018.
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: November 24, 2020
First submittedJuly 29, 2017
Times taken16,533
Rating4.30
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Net $
Country
83.1 bil
China
53.4 bil
Japan
30.2 bil
United Kingdom
21.0 bil
South Korea
18.6 bil
Vietnam
15.7 bil
Saudi Arabia
14.5 bil
Germany
Net $
Country
12.5 bil
Iraq
9.28 bil
Bangladesh
9.07 bil
Egypt
8.91 bil
Algeria
8.74 bil
Taiwan
8.71 bil
Iran
7.16 bil
Russia
Net $
Country
7.02 bil
Philippines
6.84 bil
Sweden
6.04 bil
Norway
5.24 bil
United Arab Emirates
5.13 bil
Nigeria
4.65 bil
Kuwait
3.86 bil
Venezuela
+5
Level 64
Jan 14, 2018
Quiz live for ~6 months, and featured for 4+ hours with no comments. Makes me wonder what the longest a featured quiz has gone without comment is?
+29
Level 55
Jan 14, 2018
Well you've stopped this one from breaking that record.
+8
Level 22
Jan 14, 2018
Dude, didn't you know that today you weren't supposed to comment anything? I'm a moderator of the contest, however, and so I am allowed to comment. Please no more
+1
Level 56
Nov 25, 2020
Don't give us your "dude" crap.
+1
Level 61
Dec 10, 2020
Wow, somebody’s got their cranky pants on.
+2
Level 73
Jan 14, 2018
Point one: Don't trust data from FAO, on this quiz or any other. The agency passively accepts and reports whatever BS member states provide. Point two: As in so many other quizzes, this would be far more relevant if done per capita, not by country, which are for the most part randomly determined units of geography.
+4
Level 81
Jan 14, 2018
That wouldn't make the quiz more relevant.
+6
Level ∞
Jan 14, 2018
I'm sure certain countries report inaccurate info. Venezuela and Argentina are likely offenders. But unless there are better sources, this is a good start. Government data from many countries is often quite accurate.
+2
Level 73
Jan 14, 2018
Yes, "certain countries" report inaccurate data, unfortunately most often those of greatest concern to the issue of food security. I've been reviewing FAO data on this subject for years, and in many cases I think we would be better off simply knowing that we don't know. No, this is not a "good start."
+2
Level ∞
Jan 14, 2018
Okay, what specific answers on this quiz are wrong then? Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
+8
Level 65
Jan 16, 2018
I'm surprised Hungry wasn't on the list.
+2
Level 73
Jan 18, 2018
Hey-Oh!
+4
Level 83
Dec 8, 2019
Turkey should be a mass exporter.
+3
Level 73
Jan 18, 2018
With as big as Russia is, you would think that it could be a little more self sustaining.
+1
Level 78
May 11, 2018
That's what I was thinking. What could they possibly need that they couldn't produce or find a substitute for? Bad grammar, I know. They running short of vodka or caviar?
+2
Level 78
Nov 24, 2020
It's mostly covered with ice and forest though
+3
Level 55
Dec 2, 2018
Venezuela is actually on this list. =]
+1
Level 77
Oct 14, 2019
Suprised there aren't more micronations on this list.
+2
Level 83
Dec 8, 2019
They would be fat.
+3
Level 84
Nov 24, 2020
Per capita they might be. But measuring aggregate net import, just not enough people for it to be in the multiple billions.
+5
Level 72
Nov 27, 2020
Surprised not to see Singapore. Surely they must import almost everything. I thought could be population is too small, but Kuwait and UAE are there.
+9
Level 71
Nov 28, 2020
Am I alone in thinking this quiz could use another minute?
+2
Level 78
Dec 10, 2020
I'm all for that. I realize we don't need enough time to just type in every country, but I think another minute would be fair.
+3
Level 64
Dec 10, 2020
This felt like "type 21 randomly chosen countries"! I was trying to see a pattern in there but couldn't. Oh well.
+1
Level 65
Dec 10, 2020
Lol same
+2
Level 65
Dec 10, 2020
Yeah. I first thought it would mostly be desert countries so I tried most of the Middle East, but that didn't get me that far. I then just starting typing really large, populous countries thinking maybe extra food was needed to support larger populations.

China though? Even with a large population to feed, they have tons of land for agriculture. What about Japan?

Also, I know Bangladesh/Vietnam/Philippines are developing and might not be entirely self-sufficient, but it was still a surprise seeing them, since they have tons of productive land for agriculture.

On that note, why isn't India here? It's enormous like China and developing like many of the countries here, so why does it not import nearly as much food as some of the other countries here?

As for the developed Western nations like the UK and Germany, I have no idea where even to begin...

+1
Level 54
Dec 10, 2020
I think even though China has a ton of land territory, not all of it is arable (such as the regions of Tibet, etc.), so it still needs to import at least some food for its population. The same thing goes for Japan, where inland it gets mountainous and the soil isn't that suitable for farming. The same things go for Bangladesh, Vietnam, and the Philippines, although the reason there is because they have smaller amounts of land and have large populations. India also has the most farmland of any country on Earth, so it makes sense how it wouldn't be on here. I don't necessarily know about the reason for the European countries though. (I'm sorry about this lol)
+1
Level 65
Dec 12, 2020
That makes some sense for China, but I'm still skeptical that that's the sole reason. The agriculture-poor regions of Western China are also the most sparsely populated places in China, so less food would be required in those regions. It makes sense that they have to import food, but $83 million worth?

As for India, it's true that they have more farmland than most countries (it's actually #2 I think, with America #1), but only slightly more than China. Also, there are some rather arid and soil-poor regions in India, like Rajasthan, and even with all of their farming, malnutrition is a major problem. It seems odd to me that they wouldn't need at least *some* extra food from abroad, especially considering it fits the trends of many other countries here.

Not saying you're wrong on any of this (what you said Japan/Bangladesh/Vietnam/Philippines makes sense), it just still seems odd to me.

+1
Level ∞
Dec 12, 2020
83 billion. 83 million is a pittance. And 83 billion is barely anything either divided by 1.4 billion people.
+1
Level 65
Dec 12, 2020
*83 billion oops

That's a good point that I wasn't really thinking of though. Looking at it per capita, Saudi Arabia and Iraq would be much higher than China/Vietnam/Bangladesh/the Philippines.