Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Record cereal production to ease tight supplies in 2013/14

Rice production is set to reach a new high

 Record cereal production to ease tight supplies in 2013/14

Bangkok, Thailand, 06 Sep 2013 -- Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific announced at his monthly media briefing that the Organization’s Cereal Supply and Demand Brief , issued today from the Organization’s Rome Headquarters, has raised its “forecast of world cereal production to 2 492 million tonnes, up 14 million tonnes (or 0.5 percent) from the July forecast. Most of the upward adjustment reflects expectations of higher maize production in Argentina, the EU and Ukraine.”

Konuma said, “At the new forecast level, global cereal production would be 179 million tonnes (7.7 percent) higher than in 2012 and a new record. The recovery is predicted to be driven by a 10.5 percent expansion in coarse grain output to 1 285 million tonnes as well as a 7.6 percent rise in wheat production to 710 million tonnes.”

Global rice output expected to increase by 1.3 percent reaching the historic record of 497 million tonnes

According to the Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, world rice production is set to increase by 1.3 percent, reaching a new high of 497 million tonnes, in milled equivalent, while rice inventories could increase to 181 million tonnes, up 4 percent from their opening levels.

World cereal stocks at the close of seasons in 2014 have been raised slightly since July, to 569 million tonnes, primarily on expectations of higher maize inventories. According to the FAO Brief, “The revised forecast puts world cereal stocks 13 percent (65.5 million tonnes) above their low opening levels and at their highest since 2001/02. Based on the current projections of overall demand, the increase in stocks would drive up the global stock-to-use ratio to 23.3 percent, the highest since 2002/03.”

Human consumption of cereals to expand by 1.2 percent

World wheat stocks are forecast to register an 8 percent expansion, to 170 million tonnes while rice inventories could increase to 181 million tonnes, up 4 percent from their opening levels. Based on the latest forecasts, total use of cereals for direct human consumption is set to expand by 1.2 percent to 1 094 million tonnes. This would result in global per caput cereal consumption remaining steady at just over 152 kg, with wheat at 67 kg and rice at close to 57kg.

The Brief also raised the forecast for world cereal trade in 2013/14 marketing season “by nearly 4 million tonnes since the July report, to 310 million tonnes, one percent (3 million tonnes) above 2012/13. The upward revision mostly reflects prospects for higher wheat imports by China and Egypt than anticipated earlier.”

Based on the latest forecast, “World trade in wheat and rice in the new season are expected to change little, remaining at 139.5 million tonnes and 37.7 million tonnes, respectively.”

The Food Price Index, also issued today at FAO Headquarters in Rome, dropped for the fourth month in a row in August reaching its lowest level since June 2012.

The Index, which measures the monthly change in the international prices of a basket of food commodities, averaged 201.8 points in August 2013, nearly 4 points (1.9 percent) below its July value and 11 points (or 5.1 percent) less than in August 2012.

Last month’s decline was mainly driven by continued falls in the international prices of cereals and oils. Dairy, meat and sugar prices rose slightly.

Steep decline in cereal prices

The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 210.9 points in August, down 16.4 points (7.2 percent) from July and 49.4 points (or 19 percent) from August 2012. The steep decline reflects expectations for a strong growth in world cereal production this year and, especially, a sharp recovery in maize supplies.

Oils, dairy and meat

The FAO Oils/Fats Price Index averaged 185.5 points in August, 5.7 points (or 3.0 percent) below the July value and the third consecutive monthly decline. The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 239.1 points in August, 2.8 points (1.2 percent) more than in July and 37 percent above its level in August last year. Prices increased last month for all the dairy products that make up the index, except butter, as export supplies remain limited in major trading countries.

The FAO Meat Price Index averaged 175.0 points in August, an increase of 2.2 points (1.3 percent).

The FAO price index is only one indicator of how prices of selected raw material used for producing food are behaving at the world level. They may not always reflect the situation at local or national levels but could provide good information to policy makers about the trend in international markets.

Save Food Campaign Asia-Pacific gets underway

Konuma said the Save Food Asia-Pacific Campaign “is taking on increasing importance with more than 40 percent of fruits and vegetables, and 30 percent of grains being lost, due to spoilage and spillage, between the producer and the market in developing countries of Asia and the Pacific region. These losses amount to millions of dollars annually. In 2011, for example, post-harvest losses of rice in Viet Nam were valued at US$635 million.”

Konuma said, “Food waste, is the main issue for developed countries of the region – Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore- but is a growing problem in urban centres throughout the region. Unlike developed countries, where much of the food waste takes place in the home, food waste in developing countries takes place mainly in the food service sector – due to increased dining away from home - particularly in urban centres.”

Konuma outlined the next steps for the Save Food Asia-Pacific Campaign as:

-  Partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders and engagement of  the private sector as a key partner in the food loss and food waste campaign.

-  Continue to raise awareness and advocate for Reducing Food Losses and Food Waste through:

  • Engagement with the media to raise awareness with the public at large  
  •  Dissemination of communication tools– brochures, stickers, videos, etc -  targeted to different audiences;
  •  Competitions – drawing competitions, photography, name the mascot, etc
  •  Development of national and regional platforms for communicating the message and for sharing experiences, good practices, information, innovative technologies, etc.

-  Promote the campaign particularly – with respect to reducing food waste - in schools across the region.