CEREALS are generally of the gramineous family and, in the FAO concept, refer to crops harvested for dry grain only. Crops harvested green for forage, silage or grazingare classified as fodder crops. Also excluded are industrial crops, e.g. broom sorghum (Crude organic materials nes) and sweet sorghum when grown for syrup (Sugar crops nes). For international trade classifications, fresh cereals (other than sweet corn), whether or not suitable for use as fresh vegetables, are classified as cereals.



They’re the world’s oldest cultivated legume, so it’s no surprise that lentils have become a staple across the globe – from India to the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas.

Like beans, lentils add a great high-fiber and high-protein element to many meals. Because of their size, lentils cook much more quickly than dried beans and do not have to be soaked before cooking. They are extremely versatile and inexpensive, which makes them an accessible form of high-quality protein. Let’s take a closer look at this convenient staple.



Defined broadly to include meal, groats and pellets. Strong flours from hard wheat are used for bread, while durum wheat flour is used primarily for pasta. Weaker flours from soft wheat are mainly used in cakes, pastries, biscuits and certain noodles. 



The traditional sources of sugar are sugar cane and sugar beets. But in recent years, ever larger quantities of cereals (mainly maize) have been used to produce sweeteners derived from starch. Sugar cane is a perennial grass (replanted at intervals using pieces of the cane stalks) that is cultivated mainly in the tropics. Sugar beet is an annual crop that is propagated by the seeds of the flowers. It is cultivated in cooler climates than sugar cane, mainly above the 35th parallel of the Northern Hemisphere. There are two major sugar crops: sugar beets and sugar cane. However, sugar and syrups are also produced from the sap of certain species of maple trees, from sweet sorghum when cultivated explicitly for making syrup and from sugar palm. Sugar beets that are cultivated solely as a fodder crop and red or garden beets that are classified as vegetable crops are excluded from the FAO list of sugar crops. 



SPICES are vegetable products such as leaves, flowers, seeds and roots that are rich in essential oils and aromatic principles. They are used mainly as condiments. The FAO definitions include ten spices. For practical reasons, spices are considered to be primary crops. The code and name of each is listed below, along with its botanical name, or names, and a short description. Production data of spices should be reported in terms of ripe, dried or powdered products. 


Fruits & Vegetables

FRUIT CROPS consist of fruits and berries that, with few exceptions, are characterized by their sweet taste. Nearly all are permanent crops, mainly from trees, bushes and shrubs, as well as vines and palms. Fruits and berries grow on branches, stalks or the trunks of plants, usually singly, but sometimes grouped in bunches or clusters (e.g. bananas and grapes). Commercial crops are cultivated in plantations, but significant quantities of fruits are also collected from scattered plants that may or may not be cultivated. Although melons and watermelons are generally considered to be fruits, FAO groups them with vegetables because they are temporary crops. 


Dry Fruits

Tree NUTS are dry fruits or kernels enclosed in woody shells or hard husks, which in turn are generally covered by a thick, fleshy/fibrous outer husk that is removed during harvest. Similar products, such as groundnuts, sunflower seeds and melon seeds, although often used for similar purposes, are included with oil-bearing crops. FAO includes in this group only dessert or table nuts. Nuts that are used mainly for flavouring beverages and masticatory and stimulant nuts should be excluded. An exception is made for areca nuts and kola nuts, which FAO considers to be inedible nuts, but which are included with the nut and derived products group to be consistent with international trade classifications. Nuts used mainly for the extraction of oil or butter, (e.g. sheanuts) as well as nuts contained in other fruits (e.g. peaches) are excluded. 


Edible Oils

Only 5-6 percent of the world production of oil crops is used for seed (oilseeds) and animal feed, while about 8 percent is used for food. The remaining 86 percent is processed into oil. The fat content of oil crops varies widely. Fat content ranges from as low as 10-15 percent of the weight of coconuts to over 50 percent of the weight of sesame seeds and palm kernels. Carbohydrates, mainly polysaccharides, range from 15 to 30 percent in the oilseeds, but are generally lower in other oil-bearing crops. The protein content is very high in soybeans, at up to 40 percent, but is much lower in many other oilseeds, at 15-25 percent, and is lower still in some other oil-bearing crops. 


Tea & Coffee

TEA is a shrub of the Camellia family that is cultivated for its tender leaves. The two main varieties are assamica and sinensis. The primary crop consists of the tender leaves, which may be withered, rolled, fermented and dried (black tea). Green tea is black tea that is not fermented. Tea is a stimulant, not a food crop. 

COFFEE is a tropical shrub that yields fruits or cherries which are processed so as to free the seeds or "beans" from the fruit pulp and then from the mucilage and silver skin covering the beans. Coffee with the mucilage and skin retained is called parchment coffee. 


Dairy Products



Meat Products

FAO defines meat as the flesh of animals used for food. In productiondata, meat is normally reported inclusive of bone and exclusive ofmeat that is unfit for human consumption. As reported by individualcountries, meat production data may refer either to commercialproduction (meat entering marketing channels), inspected production(from animals slaughtered under sanitary inspection), or totalproduction (the total of the above- mentioned categories plusslaughter for personal consumption). All FAO annual production datarefer to total production. 

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