Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Slightly lower but favourable world cereal production

Number of hungry people in the world drops slightly to 842 million

Slightly lower but favourable world cereal production

Bangkok, Thailand, 03 Oct 2013 -- Speaking at his monthly media briefing Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific announced the theme of World Food Day, which marks the founding of FAO in 1945 as: Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.

Konuma explained the theme as meaning, “Healthy people depend on healthy food systems, which he described as sustainable food systems that produce nutritious diets for all people, while protecting the capacity for future generations to feed themselves.

FAO will celebrate World Food Day with a ceremony presided over by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and attended by the Thai minister of agriculture and cooperatives, other senior Thai government officials, Bangkok-based members of the diplomatic corps, UN organizations and civil society. Four model farmers from the Asia-Pacific region are expected to receive awards for their contributions to farming and food production. The farmers represent Bhutan, the Philippines, Thailand and Tonga.

Global cereal production forecast up 8 percent on 2012

Konuma announced that FAO’s Crop Prospects and Food Situation was issued today by the Organization’s Rome Headquarters, saying: “The outlook for global cereal supply in the 2013/14 marketing season remains generally favourable despite downward adjustments to forecasts for world cereal production and closing stocks.”

At 2 489 million tonnes, FAO’s current forecast for world cereal production in 2013 is marginally lower (3 million tonnes) than reported in September. In Far East Asia, the aggregate 2013 cereal production is estimated at a record level, with virtually all countries expecting larger harvests. Despite the downward adjustment, world cereal production would still surpass the 2012 level by nearly 8 percent.

This significant growth is mainly the result of an 11 percent anticipated expansion in coarse grains output to about 1 288 million tonnes.

September Food Price Index 1 percent down on August level

Meanwhile, the FAO Food Price Index, also issued today, dropped for the fifth month in a row in September, driven by a sharp fall in the international prices of cereals. The prices of dairy, oils, meat and sugar rose slightly.

The Index, which measures the monthly change in the international prices of a basket of 55 food commodities, averaged 199.1 points last month, 2.3 points or 1 percent below its August value. It is down 11 points or 5.4 percent since the beginning of the year. However, it is still higher than in the same period in 2009 or 2010.

State of Food Insecurity in the World 2013

On Monday, the State of Food Insecurity in the World, published every year by FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), said the number of people in the world suffering from chronic hunger has dropped from the 868 million reported for the 2010-12 to 842 million people, or roughly one in eight

The proportion of chronic hunger in Asia Region declined from 14.7 percent in 2008/10 to 13.5 percent in 2011/13, and getting closer to MDG hunger target of 12 percent to be achieved by 2015.

Mr Konuma said, “Continued economic growth in developing countries has improved incomes and access to food. In addition, in some countries remittances from migrants are playing a role in reducing poverty, leading to better diets and progress in food security.”

According to the report, substantial reductions in both the number of hungry and prevalence of undernourishment have occurred in most countries of East Asia, Southeastern Asia, and in Latin America.

Pro-poor policies needed

The report underlines that economic growth is needed for progress in hunger reduction. But growth may not lead to more and better jobs and incomes, unless policies specifically target the poor, especially those in rural areas. “In poor countries, hunger and poverty reduction will only be achieved with growth that is not only sustained, but also broadly shared,” the report noted.