Downloading FAOSTAT Data

FAOSTAT--FAOSTAT is the main FAO data base. There are two versions an old version which will presumably be withdrawn and a new version which will be the focus of this description. The new versions is made up of more than 40 data bases which are grouped into 12 headings. The site is available at To access the databases click on Download Data in the top menu. The main data base headings apprear in a menu on the left side. (Make sure the "Standard Download" option is selected).

Click on the menu items to see the included data bases. The data bases work basically the same. Click on Food Supply then on Crops Primary Equivalent to bring up the sample data base. You will be presented with four data selection boxes, the first allows you to choose "Countries", "Regions" or "Special Groups". When you chose one you are then presented with a drop down list which allows you to select individual items. You also have the option of using the "Select All" button. The other three boxes operate on the same principle-- you select a grouping then individual identifiers from a drop down menu. You must make a selection in each of the four boxes or the query will not run. You can then select "Output Options" which provides drop down menus to select data qualifiers. You then have the option to "Preview" or "Download" your data. If you select "Preview" you are then given the choice of reformatting the table by moving the various components between rows and columns by clicking on them and dragging them from side to side. The formatting of the report changes as you move the labels. It might be a good idea to start with a very simple table to get a sense of how the table formatting options work.

The downloading process creates a small window which allows the user to determine how to process the download either saving it or opening it in software the user can select--normally this will be a spreadsheet like Excel or LibreOffice Calc after which it can be saved normally.  If the download is saved in Windows it will automatically go into the download directory in the User directory. If the data is saved using Ubuntu the window will be opened and the user will be able to assign a name and a directory to which the file will be saved.

Copyright 1998/2015 GRI    Updated 5 May 2015