The most widely cultivated agricultural commodities worldwide are cow milk, sugar cane, corn, wheat, and rice according to a new report published by a university in the US.

In fact, cow milk is the top agricultural product in 38 countries, while wheat is the top agricultural product in 14 countries.

Concerns have been raised about the future of of the world’s food supply due to climate-change challenges, the recent global pandemic, and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

With those concerns to the fore, researchers at the University of the Potomac decided to review all current data available to shed some light on where in the world our food comes from and to find out which countries are the largest importers and exporters.

They compiled their findings in a report entitled Where Does Our Food Come From? The Largest Agri Producers and Exporters.

According to the researchers:

“The war in Ukraine has disturbed the world food market, as Ukraine and Russia are among the largest food producers in the world, with Ukraine being the largest producer of sunflower seeds (a crucial agricultural commodity in food production factories). These factors created uncertainty among people about the future of our food production.

“To shed some light on where our food comes from and which countries trade most of it, we researched the newest data on agricultural production.”

In addition to the findings on most widely cultivated commodities, the report also found that China, the US, Russia, Brazil, and India – five of the world’s most dominant food producers – are also among the top-10 countries in terms of global exports.


Russia, the third-largest wheat producer, together with its neighbor Ukraine account for about 30% of the global wheat trade, making the region one of the major breadbasket regions.

Russia, the report also found, cultivates over a third of global sunflower seeds, while a quarter of the total production comes from Ukraine.

Most exported

Today, some of the most exported agricultural products globally are wheat, rice, soybeans, corn, barley, rapeseed, palm oil, sunflower seeds, and bananas.

With 82.9 million tonnes, Brazil is the world’s main producer of soybeans as well as the biggest exporter of it, followed by the US with 64.5 million tonnes, and Paraguay with 6.6 million tonnes.

China is the top producer of rice in the world with 211 million tonnes, and it exports 2.2 million tonnes of the product. The majority of the rice produced in China is to meet their population’s demands.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • The US produces 32% of the world’s corn, making it the top producer of this crop. The US is also the top exporter of corn and in 2020 it exported this crop to 73 different countries.
  • China is the largest producer of eggs with 29.8 million tonnes, but Netherlands exports 415,300 tonnes of eggs yearly, making it the largest exporter of this commodity.
  • In 2020, soybeans were the highest value exported goods for the US, which reached an export value of $25.8 billion.
  • In 2020, China was the lead producer of over 30 crops, including wheat, rice, tomatoes, and potatoes.
  • Rice was the most produced crop, with 353.1 million tonnes in total.

In creating this report, the authors thoroughly researched datasets from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, collecting world and country-based data on food production quantities and market values.