Downloading FAOSTAT Data

FAOSTAT--FAOSTAT is the main FAO data base. There are several different ways to access the data in FAOSTAT as well as different formats in which it can be downloaded.The main data page at http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#home provides a link to "Explore Data" as well as an option to bulk download all the FAOSTAT data. The different options available for the two choices are outlined below.

Download All Data
Choosing this option will cause the system to generate a download of all of the data in The FAOSTAT database. The output will be a "zip" file, which, when opened will provide more than 80 files on separate subjects. These files are normalized and many of them will be too large to open in a spreadsheet or in a personal database.

Main Database

The main data based is accessed by clicking on "Explore Data" on the main page. This brings up an extensive list of separate databases available. Each of these selections presents a searchable database as well as a list of prepackaged bulk data files for the topic.

Bulk-- The bulk files are available for all countries as a time series file or a normalized file (click here for description of two the types). In many cases the normalized file is too large to be loaded by a spreadsheet or by the "personal" database software programmes. The geographic time series files have the advantage of including country and item names and codes in separate fields. .

Searchable Data-- The searchable database provides for selection of three or four variables, usually country name, year, as well as one or two describing the product. Selections must be made in all of the boxes--tabs on the "country" table often include the following options "Countries", "Regions" and "Special Groups". Once the query has been defined the page provides for selection of formatting data and data codes. The data can be downloaded as a "table" (in "normalized" format) or a "Pivot" which provides the data in time series format. If the file is large the "table" download could be too large to load in a spreadsheet. The "pivot" or time series data is more economical of space, however, in several columns both the name and the code for an item are included together ( example:"Albania [3]") which requires editing before the data can be used for analysis. The database was designed and tested in Windows 7 and Chrome--Using Windows 10 and Firefox can result in problems with the pivot tables--the country name and country code field is often blank.

Users planning to use FAO data for analysis or linking with data from other data bases may want to check out the FAO entry in the "Table Format" and "Data Issues" sections of this site.
Copyright 1998/2019 GRI    Updated 7 March 2019