biggest food exporters in the world

The United States is at the top in food exports, sending out over $140 billion worth every year. It’s well-known for soybeans, corn, meat, and dairy products1. Next is the Netherlands, with over $100 billion in exports. They do great in the dairy, meat, and vegetable business, thanks to their advanced farming methods1. Brazil is also doing a great job, exporting about $80 billion in food. They focus on soybeans, sugar, coffee, and beef. Their varied climates help with this variety1.

World’s Largest Food Producers 2021

CountryFood Exports (t)Flag
United States656296000🇺🇸

Biggest Food Exporters in The World

Key Takeaways

  • The United States is the largest exporter of food in the world, specializing in soybeans, corn, meat, and dairy products.
  • The Netherlands, known for its innovative farming techniques and sustainable practices, is a significant player in global food exports.
  • Brazil’s diverse climates allow it to be a major exporter of soybeans, sugar, coffee, and beef.
  • Germany is recognized for its quality dairy, meat, and confectionery products, along with a strong emphasis on food safety standards.
  • China exports a variety of food products, including fruits, vegetables, and meat, to meet both domestic and international demand.

The Importance of Agriculture in Global Trade

Food Exports by Country (2021)

Source: FAO

Agriculture is key to the world’s economy, critical for global trade and feeding people across the globe. It drives the economy, ensures food security, and keeps people healthy2.

Food Drives the World Economy

In 2021, agriculture made up 5.4 percent of the United States’ GDP3. It also accounts for 10.5 percent of all U.S. jobs, showing its big economic impact3. The U.S. leads in exporting farm goods, with sales hitting $196 billion in 2022, up from $62.8 billion in 199724.

About 45 percent of the world’s population depends on farming for their work3. Free trade agreements like NAFTA have boosted trade. U.S. sales to Canada and Mexico nearly quadrupled their worth thanks to these deals2.

Ensuring Food Security and Population Health

Adequate food access is a big concern for everyone. This makes agriculture vital for food security and keeping people healthy. As the global population grows, so does the demand for farming products. This includes U.S. exports like dairy, meats, fruits, and vegetables2. Also, growing nations with more young people and higher incomes are becoming big markets for U.S. farm goods3.

In 2021, U.S. farm exports supported over 1 million full-time jobs. And for every dollar in these exports, $1.07 in additional business activity was created2. Ensuring the security of food and the health of populations is a crucial part of global trade. This shows how important agriculture is in the world of trade and economics.

“Agriculture is not crop production as popular belief holds – it’s the production of food and fiber from the world’s land and waters. Without agriculture it is not possible to have a city, stock market, banks, university, church or army. Agriculture is the foundation of civilization and any stable economy.”
– Allan Savory, Holistic Management International

Top Agricultural Producers

The top producers of major crops are the United States, China, India, and Russia5. These nations provide most of the world’s food and essential agricultural products.

China is the biggest producer of rice, wheat, and many vegetables like onions and cabbage6. The U.S. is best in corn, and second in soybeans and wheat5. Their advanced farming methods and large investments show their commitment.

Diverse Crop Production Across Major Economies

Even though these countries lead in agriculture, they each focus on different crops. India is top in millet, while the U.S. and Brazil excel in soybeans6. China leads in potato production. India and Ukraine follow as top producers6.

India is the biggest in producing cow’s and buffalo milk6. The U.S. and China rank high in chicken, beef, and pork6. The U.S. leads in almond production, and China and India top in growing chili peppers6.

This global agricultural mix highlights how nations depend on each other to meet food and other demands576.

Crop/ProductTop ProducerSecond Largest ProducerThird Largest Producer
Rice (paddy)ChinaIndiaBangladesh
MilletIndiaUnited StatesBrazil
SoybeansBrazilUnited StatesArgentina
Cow’s MilkIndiaUnited StatesBrazil
Buffalo MilkIndiaPakistanChina
ChickenUnited StatesBrazilChina
BeefUnited StatesBrazilChina
PorkChinaUnited StatesBrazil
AlmondsUnited StatesAustraliaSpain
HazelnutsTurkeyItalyUnited States
Black PepperVietnamIndonesiaBrazil
Chili PepperChinaIndiaMexico
Abaca (Manila Fiber)PhilippinesEcuadorColombia

The table offers a detailed view of agricultural crop production. The U.S., China, India, and Russia excel in providing the world’s key food and agricultural needs576.

The Largest Food Exporters in the World

Global food trade marks a big difference between leading exporters and major farm producers. The top exporting countries include the United States, Netherlands, Germany, and Brazil. China is up there too. China leads in what it grows but the Netherlands shines for exporting high-value products. It does this by using advanced farming and smart export methods.

Brazil stands out for exporting soybeans, sugar, coffee, and beef. It sent over $46 billion worth of goods to China in 2022. At the same time, the United States led global farm exports with a whopping $191.7 billion in 2022. In that year, the U.S. had a 9.6% slice of the world’s farm export pie.

Even if some top farm producers fall short in exports, the big export players are key in keeping food steady and boosting the global economy. They hold power in food trading. This power can sway politics and economies their way.

“Embargoes involving food items have shown to be more effective than those that do not include food, impacting economies and forcing countries to resort to desperate measures.”8

As the trade of prepared foods picks up speed, these top food sellers will play a bigger part in the world’s economy and politics. Their role will be ever more important.

CountryAgricultural Output (2022)Food Production (2022)Exports (2022)
China$1.66 trillion$1.62 trillion$291 billion (imports)
India$524.1 billion$504.6 billionTop exporter of sugar and rice
United States$474.2 billion$456.5 billion$191.7 billion (exports)
Brazil$219.6 billion$210.9 billionTop exporter of soybeans, sugar, and poultry

These top food sellers are critical in the global food business. By using their farm strength and smart placement, they greatly influence the world’s food exchange.

United States: A Powerhouse in Food Exports

The United States is a leading force in food exports on the world stage, thanks to its huge farming areas. Places like California, Iowa, and others work hard to make the U.S. a key global food supplier. They grow and export a wide range of food products9.

It’s no surprise that the U.S. shines in selling food abroad. The country ships out items like corn, cattle, and soybeans, among many others. With top-notch farming tech and endless farmlands, Americans play a crucial role in helping feed the world9.

Diversified Agricultural Products and Advanced Technology

In 2019, the U.S. sold agricultural goods worth $136.7 billion to the world. By 2022, this number jumped to $196.0 billion10. These numbers show how the U.S. meets global hunger with its tech and a variety of food items.

The farming world is a big deal for the U.S. economy, making over $1.5 trillion a year. In 2022, more than 22 million jobs came from the farming sector. Family farms are the heart of this industry, covering most of the farms and their production value910.

Even though farming faces some tough spots, like slowing productivity and more debt, the U.S. still leads in food abroad10. With varied products, top technology, and effective ways to produce, the U.S. is set to stay ahead in global food trade10.

“Agriculture, food, and related industries contributed about $1.530 trillion to U.S. GDP in 2023, representing a 5.6% share.”9

Netherlands: A Small Giant in Food Exports

The Netherlands might be small, but it’s big in food exports11. It derives 83% of its GDP from farming11. It’s the world’s second-largest in agricultural exports, reaching 85 billion Euros last year11.

Dutch success comes from innovation and green practices12. Take Jacob van den Borne, for instance; he gets 20 tons of potatoes per acre, way above the global nine-ton average12. Since 2000, Dutch farmers have cut down water use by 90% for key crops1213.

Sustainable and Innovative Farming Practices

The country has climate-controlled farms that boost year-round growth in the Westland area12. These modern methods make the Netherlands a top exporter of dairy, meat, and veggies11. Dutch farmers also reduced antibiotics for animals by 60% since 200912.

Dutch innovation shines through hard work and research11. Wageningen University & Research is key to staying ahead in agriculture12. The school focuses on solving global food challenges, like feeding 10 billion by 205012.

The Netherlands leads in seeds for plants and veggies, thanks to on-going variety development11. It’s also a top name in intensive, yet eco-friendly farming. Nijsen/Granico turns food waste into animal feed13.

Export ItemValue (in Billion Euros)
Ornamental Plants and Flowers12
Dairy Products, Eggs, Meat, and Vegetables25
Bio-products to Germany26.3
Bio-products to Belgium12.1
Bio-products to France and the UK8.6 each

Thanks to its forward farming, environment care, and R&D, the Netherlands keeps its top spot in food exports13. This “small giant” is crucial to our food future and shows how agriculture can be planet-friendly11.

Brazil: A Diverse Agricultural Exporter

Brazil is a key player in the world of farming thanks to its varied climates and rich biodiversity14. It’s set to make a record amount from farming this year – 1.15 trillion reais, about $230 billion14. This is a big part of the country’s income, coming in at around 25% of its total money made14.

In the first half of the year, half of what Brazil earned from selling things came from farming14. When it comes to growing and selling important crops, Brazil is at the front. It’s the top producer of soy, coffee, and sugar. Plus, it’s the world’s second-biggest cotton grower after the United States14.

Most of Brazil’s soy, corn, and cotton are genetically modified, making up 80%-90% of what it grows14. Over the past 20 years, Brazil has stepped up growing these crops14.

Leveraging Rich Climates and Biodiversity

The mix of climates in Brazil, from the Amazon to the savannah, is perfect for farming on a big scale14. This, along with its wealth of natural resources, has put Brazil on the food export map. It plays a big part in making sure the world has enough to eat, boosting food security globally14.

Yet, there are worries about the way Brazil farms and its impact on the environment. This has made it hard to sign a trade deal with the European Union. The EU is concerned about Brazil’s high rates of cutting down forests, using too many pesticides, and growing genetically modified crops14.

The demand is growing for products that are not tied to deforestation. Because of this, meat producers are working on tracing where their products come from. Grain farmers are also trying to use more eco-friendly ways to grow their crops14.

Brazil agriculture

Even with these issues, Brazil’s farming is still a big success story. It’s now more important than ever in feeding people all over the globe141516.

Germany: Quality and Efficiency in Food Exports

Germany is known for its top-notch dairy products, meat, and sweets. It exports these to markets worldwide17. The country’s commitment to quality, being efficient, and keeping high food safety standards has put Germany at the top in Europe17. People all over the world love German food because it reflects hard work and uses clever farming methods.

In 2021, Germany came in third for both buying and selling goods like food around the world. Only China and the U.S. were in front1718. German people spend about 14% of what they earn on food and drink. And, compared to other European nations, they pay less1718.

The country is also the second-largest buyer of organic food, behind the U.S17.. More people in Germany are choosing fair trade and organic options. This follows the EU’s Farm to Fork plan18.

ProductMarket Size in 2022 (USD)
Wine Imports3.04 billion
Tree Nuts1.182 billion
Fishery Products6.425 billion
Pet Food4.02 billion

In 2022, Germany spent over USD 3.04 billion on wine imports. Italy, France, and Spain were the top wine sources. Together, they shared 81% of the market17. U.S. wines are also popular in Germany. Their value reached USD 73 million in 202217.

Tree nuts, which include almonds, pistachios, and more, made USD 1.182 billion in revenue in 202217. Fishery products, like salmon and shrimps, reached USD 6.425 billion in sales17. The pet food market was worth USD 4.02 billion. There’s a growing demand for healthy pet food17.

Over the years, Germany’s farms have become more efficient18. In the early 1990s, one farmer could feed seventy-five people. This was due to new and better ways of farming18. But, climate change is now affecting farming. For example, less ice wine is being made in parts of Germany18.

Germany is a key player in the global food trade. Its focus on high quality, efficiency, and food innovations have made it stand out171819. It offers many in-demand products and has a strong reputation for being the best1718.

China: Feeding the World with Variety

China is a key player in the world’s food scene. Its huge, diverse farming sector feeds not only its own big population but also many others worldwide20.

Vast Agricultural Sector and Diverse Climates

China stands out for the size and variety of its farms. It leads in growing foods like rice, wheat, and veggies20. The nation sent out a big 6.3 percent of the world’s rice in 2018-2019, helping boost global food security20.

This nation’s farm success comes from its many climates and land types. Not just crops, China is also a top meat exporter, with a large 86.5 million tons of meat made in 201820. Even though it exports a lot, China’s food imports grew from $14 billion to over $100 billion from 2003 to 201720.

China’s Grain Consumption125 million metric tons (1975) to 420 million metric tons (2018)20
China’s Food Exports$20.2 billion (2003) to $59.6 billion (2017)20
China’s Soybean ImportsNearly $38.1 billion in 201820
China’s Agricultural Subsidies$206 billion in 201820

To keep up, China uses many policies and partnerships in farming. It’s also working to protect water resources. With its farms and climates, China helps keep the world fed and is a big part of global food trade.

China agricultural exports

“China’s food exports contribute significantly to global food security, with the nation exporting 6.3 percent of the global total of rice in 2018-2019.”

France: Exporting Culinary Excellence

France is well known for its great food heritage spread worldwide21. Its food industry has over 17,600 companies. In 2017, these companies made sales of $191 billion21. They show France’s dedication to quality and tradition. The country exports its famous wines, cheeses, and top-grade wheat, sharing its rich food culture with everyone21.

Wine, Cheese, and Wheat: Emblems of French Cuisine

Exports from France majorly include wine, cheese, and wheat21. Importantly, the value of these exports into France increased by 5.6 percent last year. This shows the world’s growing interest in French food21. In 2017, France made $41.8 billion from food exports, surpassing its $40.5 billion imports21.

France is known globally for its top-quality food products, showcasing the true essence of French cuisine abroad.

22 The food processing sector in France has about 17,300 companies. These companies make more than $211 billion in sales22. The HRI sector, including hotels and restaurants, is also significant. It brings in $64 billion in sales revenue22, helping spread French culinary excellence.

23 Among EU nations, France ranks third in retail food markets23. Its food items keep winning the hearts of global buyers23. For the French, taste is the top factor in choosing food and beverages. This shows their ongoing dedication to food quality23.

“France’s food exports, which include iconic items like wine, cheese, and wheat, reflect the country’s rich culinary heritage and are integral to global food trade.”

21 Between January and July 2017, France earned a $484 million surplus from food and agriculture exports21. This shows France’s strong position in the global food scene21. The food sector is crucial to France’s economy, making up 1.7 percent of its GDP in 201721.

With its exports continues to showcase culinary excellence to the world, France is rightly proud. It highlights the country’s longstanding legacy in the food industry.

Other Notable Food Exporting Nations

The food trade is led by the U.S., China, and the EU. Yet, many other countries are vital for the world’s food supply24. These lesser-known exporters help keep the global food market diverse. They also make sure people everywhere have enough food.

Spain, Canada, Italy, and Belgium’s Contributions

Spain leads in exporting olive oil, pork, and fresh produce. In the recent period, its food exports were valued at $14,036,227,53024. Canada’s exports like wheat, canola, and seafood reached $23,787,571,66024. Italy, famous for its wine, pasta, and olive oil, exported $15,432,784,080 worth of food24. Belgium shines with dairy, chocolate, and beer, hitting $12,832,527,680 in food exports24.

These countries, and others like Russia, Hong Kong, and Switzerland, show the wide range of food we trade24. Their specific products meet the increasing global hunger. This helps ensure there’s plenty of different foods for people to enjoy.

CountryFood Export Value (2019)
Hong Kong$13,918,086,12024

This group, with the top food exporting nations, strengthens and diversifies the food market. This ensures food security all over the world24.

“Food is a weapon.” – Earl Butz, United States Secretary of Agriculture, 19748

Increasing Agricultural Productivity

The world’s population keeps getting bigger. So, countries and groups are eager to find ways to make more food and keep it safe to eat25. In 2022, the money from selling farm products all over the world hit over $2 trillion for the first time. This was a jump of 7.4% from the year before25. The top 20 places that sell food globally made up almost 70% of all sales in 2022. This was higher than the 2021 figure25. Grains were the most popular items to sell in 2022, with $178 billion in sales. This was up by 16%. Fats and oils followed, making $173 billion, an 18% boost from the previous year25.

Developed Nations Turn to Genetically Modified Seeds

Countries like the U.S., Canada, and those in Western Europe are using technology to grow more food25. They mainly focus on using genetically modified seeds. These seeds help grow more food without relying heavily on expensive chemicals25. Deere & Company, a top equipment maker, saw its yearly revenue hit $60.79 billion by January 28, 2024. This was a 9.21% increase from the year before25.

Developing Nations Focus on Infrastructure and Inputs

Places in Africa and South Asia are working to overcome big farming challenges25. They’re busy building roads, making water systems better, and promoting the use of fertilizers25. Turkey, for instance, saw about 19.2% of its people working in farming in 2018. This led to $28.57 billion in farm product sales in 202225. Mexico’s sales were even higher, at $44.56 billion. Over 10% of what they make goes to farming25.

The way to grow more food changes from place to place. But the main aim is to keep food safe and meet the world’s growing need for food25. With new technology and better ways to farm, countries hope to make farming more successful and safe the future of food25.


The global food trade is a complex system that links farmers, markets, and consumers across the world26. The United States, Netherlands, Brazil, Germany, and China are top food exporters. They use their unique strengths to ensure we all have enough to eat and offer many different food choices27. These leading countries are key in feeding more people and keeping up with the world’s changing food needs28.

The food trade has changed a lot, especially with a few strong players like the European Union and the United States28. They influence global food prices and food security but can’t fully control these aspects28. Dealing with issues such as the war in Ukraine and the pandemic has shown how crucial fair and open food trade is26.

Going forward, leading food-exporting countries will be essential for securing our global food supply and adapting to what people want to eat27. They will do this by using new farming methods, being kind to the earth, and by broadening the types of food they produce27. These efforts not only feed the world but also help economies grow27.


What are the largest food exporters in the world?

The top food exporters are the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, and more. They use their farming skills and tech to export various foods.

Which country is the biggest exporter of food in the world?

The United States tops the list at 8.3 billion in 2019. It sends out soybeans, corn, meat, and dairy with modern farming methods.

Who are the biggest grain exporters in the world?

The U.S., China, India, and Russia lead in grain exports. Their production of wheat, corn, and rice is vital for global food security.

Which country is the largest exporter of fruits in the world?

Many countries, such as the U.S., the Netherlands, and Brazil, export fruits. No single country is the “largest exporter” since many contribute to this market.

Who is the largest exporter of onions in the world?

China takes the lead in onion production and export. Its large farms and varied weather help meet the global demand for onions.

Which country is the largest exporter of cassava in the world?

Nigeria exports the most cassava, vital for both food and industry. Its large harvests support global food security and trade.

What is the biggest exporter of corn in the world?

The United States is the key exporter of corn. It uses its large lands and modern farming to meet the world’s need for this grain.

Source Links

  1. – Top 10 Food Exporting Countries in the World
  2. – USDA ERS – U.S. Agricultural Trade at a Glance
  3. – Climate Change and U.S. Agricultural Exports
  4. – USDA ERS – Countries & Regions
  5. – Top Agricultural Producing Countries
  6. – List of largest producing countries of agricultural commodities
  7. – Top 20 Food Exporting Countries in the World
  8. – Food power
  9. – USDA ERS – FAQs
  10. – USA: A Powerful Legacy, With Room to Grow | Virginia Tech CALS Global
  11. – How The Netherlands Is The World’s Second Largest Food Exporter
  12. – How the Netherlands Feeds the World
  13. – Farming for the future: why the Netherlands is one of the largest food exporters in the world | DutchReview
  14.’s-agricultural-industry – Brazil’s Agricultural Industry
  15. – Brazil Country Profile • Food Export Association of the Midwest USA and Food Export USA–Northeast
  16. – USDA ERS – Brazil’s Momentum as a Global Agricultural Supplier Faces Headwinds
  17. – Germany – Agricultural Sector
  18. – Agriculture in Germany
  19. – The German market potential for fresh fruit and vegetables
  20. – How is China feeding its population of 1.4 billion?
  21. – PDF
  22. Service – Hotel Restaurant Institutional_Paris_France_FR2023-0005.pdf – PDF
  23. – What’s Happening in the French Food & Beverage Market? – Export Connect
  24. – Which Countries Export the Most Food Products by Value?
  25. – 20 Largest Agricultural Exporters in the World
  26. – Trade restrictions are inflaming the worst food crisis in a decade
  27. – What are Mexico’s biggest food exports?
  28. – PDF

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