Food Outlook 10/96

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World cassava output in 1996 is forecast to grow by 3 percent to 169 million tons of fresh roots, mainly reflecting increases in Africa and Latin America. Production in Africa, the leading production zone, is expected to reach 88 million tons, or 4 percent above last year, as a result of favourable climatic conditions, higher yields, increased plantings and, in some cases, conducive government policies. Larger harvests are estimated for Angola, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Mozambique, Nigeria (the world's largest producer) and Rwanda. In Benin, Côte d'Ivoire and Mozambique output is forecast to be between 5-12 percent above last year. Similarly, in Nigeria, output may reach a new record of about 35 million tons, or 10 percent above last year. Overall, this is the result of government actions directed towards large scale multiplication and diffusion of high yielding and disease resistant planting material, a progressive replacement of existing varieties with new ones and the promotion of new farm applications. By contrast, poor crops are reported for Kenya and Burundi following respectively dry conditions and civil strife that disrupted farming activities and also for Uganda and Zaire as a result of reduced plantings and yields following a mosaic-virus disease outbreak. Little change is anticipated in the output in other countries of the region.


1994 1995 1996 prelim.

(. . . . . . million tons . . . . . .)
WORLD 163.0 164.8 168.8
Africa 82.7 84.2 87.6
Ghana 6.0 6.9 7.0
Madagascar 2.4 2.4 2.4
Mozambique 3.3 4.2 4.7
Nigeria 31.0 31.4 34.6
Tanzania 7.2 6.0 6.0
Uganda 3.4 3.0 2.4
Zaire 18.0 18.9 18.8
Asia 49.1 48.2 47.8
China 3.5 3.5 3.5
India 5.8 6.0 5.8
Indonesia 15.7 15.4 15.8
Philippines 1.8 2.0 1.9
Thailand 19.1 18.2 17.7
Viet Nam 2.3 2.2 2.2
Latin America

and the 31.0 32.2 33.2

Brazil 24.5 25.4 26.4
Colombia 1.8 1.8 1.8
Paraguay 2.5 2.7 2.6

1/ In fresh roots.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, cassava production is forecast to grow in a number of countries, particularly in Brazil and Colombia. In Brazil, the world's second largest cassava producing and processing country, output in 1996 is expected to increase by 4 percent to reach 26.4 million tons, largely as a result of an increase in plantings and the establishment of a government price support for farmers. In Colombia, the rise in output, although marginal, is the result of various measures implemented by the Government to sustain and expand cultivation. In fact, the Government's four-year plan for the improvement and strengthening the cassava agro-industry on the Atlantic Coast has the objective of developing processing industries for chips, pellets and flour to meet the growing domestic and foreign food and feed demand for cassava and cassava products.

In Asia, the 1996 production is forecast at 47.8 million tons, virtually the level of last year. Among the major producing countries in the region, output in Thailand this year is forecast at 17.7 million tons, slightly lower than in 1995, as a result of heavy monsoon rains throughout the country which affected cassava roots and yields. Similarly in India, output is expected to decline by 3 percent to 5.8 million tons, as plantings were damaged or destroyed by a tropical cyclone which hit some of the main producing areas. By contrast, in Indonesia, output in 1996 is expected to increase by 3 percent from 1995 and to reach 15.8 million tons, mainly reflecting favourable weather conditions.

Utilization of cassava follows closely domestic production in most countries. In Africa, consumption of fresh cassava and products is likely to have increased, partly as a result of rising domestic prices of cereals, reflecting high import prices, and the disruption of the marketing systems due to civil strife in some countries. In some countries, such as Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo and Côte d'Ivoire, consumers have reacted to a loss of purchasing power, following the devaluation of the CFA currency, by increasing consumption of roots and tubers, including cassava. As a result, in these countries, demand for domestically produced substitutes for cereals, including cassava, is estimated to have risen sharply, thus pushing up prices. In Nigeria, prices of cassava flour increased by about 66 percent between May 1995 and May 1996. However, in spite of the higher price and the removal of the export ban on cassava and products, per caput consumption is expected to have continued its upward trend, as the new varieties are proving to be superior to the traditional ones for a number of food preparations.

In most countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, production increases are likely to have resulted in greater usage of cassava as both food and feed in 1996. In this region, cassava is evolving from a traditional staple to a market oriented raw material for the manufacture of human food, livestock feed and industrial products. In most Asian countries, in particular China, India, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Japan, domestic supplies are expected to be further supplemented by imports of tapioca flour to meet the growing demand for snack foods and industrial uses. Also in Thailand, usage of cassava in feeds, alcohol and starch production is expected to expand, in line with the government's policy to promote its use. In fact, out of the 17.7 million tons of cassava roots expected to be produced this year, about 10 million would be converted to tapioca pellets and 7.3 million tons would be used to produce cassava flour, half of which for domestic consumption and half for exports.

In the developed countries, particularly in the EC, despite the harvesting of a near record cereal crop, cassava utilization for animal feed is expected to increase because of its current price competitiveness vis-a vis other feed ingredients. In fact, in the latest eight months, the average quotation of cassava soybean mixtures in the Community was substantially lower than that of barley and since April 1996 it was also below the export price quotation for U.S. maize N.2 yellow (see table below).


World trade in dry cassava products in 1996 is currently estimated to have reversed the downward trend established over the last few years and to reach 6.4 million tons (16 million tons in fresh root equivalent), or 18 percent more than last year. This increase reflects larger shipments to both the EC and non-EC countries largely as chips and pellets for feed, in which the bulk of the international trade takes place. Trade in starch and flour for food and industrial uses, accounting for an estimated 16 percent of world trade, is also expected to rise.


1994 1995 1996 prelim.

(. . . . . . million tons . . . . . .)
World Exports 7.0 5.4 6.4
Thailand 5.8 4.1 5.0
Indonesia 0.7 0.5 0.6
China 2/ 0.4 0.4 0.4
Others 0.1 0.4 0.4

World Imports 7.0 5.4 6.4
EC 3/ 5.4 3.2 3.8
China 2/ 0.6 0.6 0.6
Japan 0.4 0.4 0.4
Korea. Rep. of 0.2 0.2 0.4
Others 0.4 1.0 1.2

1/ In product weight of chips and pellets. including starch and flour.
2/ Including Taiwan Province.
3/ Excluding trade between EC members.

Thailand and Indonesia continued to be the main suppliers to the world market, covering about 80 percent and 10 percent of global exports, respectively. Total shipments of cassava products from Thailand in 1996 are currently forecast at 5.0 million tons or 22 percent above the sharply reduced level of last year, with total export availability of chips and pellets amounting to 4.2 million tons. This volume would not be sufficient to fulfil Thailand's 5.25 million ton annual quota to the EC. For 1996, Thailand's cassava export quota to the EC was allocated under the three track-mechanism, under which 3.0 million tons are allocated to exporters on the basis of stock-holding 1 [/ Four stock-checks were carried out by Thailand's Foreign Trade Department (FTD). By assessing the stocks of tapioca pellets held by licensed exporters, the FTD proposes the quota to be allocated to each exporter for export to the Community. A minimum of 600 000 tons of quota is allocated after each stock-check. ] , 1.5 million tons on exporter's past performance 2 [/ The FTD allocates to the exporters a quota of 375 000 tons, proportionally to the quota assigned on stock check and on the basis of exports made in previous years.] and 0.75 million tons on reserve 3 [/ The FTD reserves a quota of 750 000 tons to allocate to exporters according to rules and measures approved by the Ministry of Commerce. ] . Between January and August this year, a total amount of 2.6 million tons of chips and pellets have been shipped of which 2.2 million tons to the Community, mainly to the Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal and Spain; 400 000 tons were exported to non-EC countries, including Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Switzerland and Turkey.


soybean meal
Barley 4/ Maize U.S.
No. 2 yellow

( . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . U.S.$/ ton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .)

1990 167 208 175 225 109
1991 178 197 186 222 107
1992 183 204 187 235 104
1993 137 208 151 197 102
1994 144 192 154 182 107
1995 177 197 181 209 124
1996 6/ 158 263 179 200 184

SOURCE: FAO, Oil World and Agra Europe.
1/ F.o.b. Rotterdam (barge or rail) including 6% levy.
2/ Argentina 45/46 % proteins) c.i.f. Rotterdam.
3/ Consisting of 80% of cassava pellets and 20% of soybean meal.
4/ Selling price of barley in Spain.
5/ Delivered U.S. Gulf ports.
6/ January-August average.

Prices of Cassava, Soybean meal and barley in the ECGiven the good crop prospects, foreign sales by Indonesia are also expected to be higher in 1996 compared to 1995. However, as a result of the combined effect of strong domestic demand, the quota allocation mechanism 4 [/ Under the " bonus quota mechanism" Indonesian exporters were eligible to ship up to 2.6 tons to the EC for each ton exported to non-EC countries in 1995.] and the high prices paid by non-EC countries for chips and pellets in 1995, Indonesia may not fulfil its quota to the EC of 866 000 tons. Among the other exporters having co-operation agreements with the EC, China is unlikely to reach its quota of some 360 000-370 000 tons and Vietnam may not ship more than one third of its 30 000 ton allowance. Aggregate shipments by minor exporters in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia are not anticipated to reach more than 300 000 tons of which 146 000 tons are for the EC market.

World imports are forecast to rise in 1996, reflecting higher demand by both the EC and non-EC countries. Imports by the Community are forecast to increase at least to 3.8 million tons, versus 3.2 million tons in 1995. They could be higher depending on the availability of supplies in major exporting countries and on future price relationships with domestic EC grains and oilmeals 5.Total purchases by non-EC countries in 1996 are currently forecast at 2.6 million tons, or 18 percent above last year. Increases in imports, especially in the form of chips and pellets, are estimated for Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and Turkey. Purchases of cassava flour, particularly native and modified starches, dextrin and others, may also rise this year, mainly as a result of strong demand from Japan, China and the Russian Federation.

1/ Four stock-checks were carried out by Thailand's Foreign Trade Department (FTD). By assessing the stocks of tapioca pellets held by licensed exporters, the FTD proposes the quota to be allocated to each exporter for export to the Community. A minimum of 600 000 tons of quota is allocated after each stock-check.
2/ The FTD allocates to the exporters a quota of 375 000 tons, proportionally to the quota assigned on stock check and on the basis of exports made in previous years.
3/ The FTD reserves a quota of 750 000 tons to allocate to exporters according to rules and measures approved by the Ministry of Commerce.
4/ Under the " bonus quota mechanism" Indonesian exporters were eligible to ship up to 2.6 tons to the EC for each ton exported to non-EC countries in 1995.
5/ Cassava pellets, used as substitutes for grains in animal feed rations, need to be supplemented with protein meals (e.g. mixture of 80 percent of cassava pellets and 20 percent soybean meals). As a result, cassava prices in importing countries are closely linked to domestic grain and oilmeals prices. However, the use of a protein meal in feeding depends on its relative value, compared to other proteins and compared to grains. As the Community is by far the largest market for protein meals and feeding stuffs in general, the high grain prices which have prevailed earlier this year, made cassava mixtures more competitive in feed rations compared to feedgrains in spite of strong oilmeals prices.


In the first eight months of 1996, the EC import price for cassava pellets, the major cassava product traded internationally, continued to trend downward averaging U.S.$ 158 per ton, or 10 percent below the price in the corresponding period in 1995. This decline reflected low domestic prices in Thailand due to poor quality root crops and despite the effect of higher prices of soybean meal in the EC for compound feeds. In fact, in the same period, soybean pellets from Argentina (c.i.f. Rotterdam) averaged U.S.$ 263 per ton, or 44 percent above the level of U.S.$ 183 in the corresponding period of 1995. Despite the increase in soybean meal prices, however, cassava/soybean mixtures continued to remain attractively priced in relation to feedgrains in the EC markets.


Preliminary indications for global cassava production in 1997 point to some recovery in major Asian countries. Expectations of higher export returns from value added sales of starch, flour and other

products suggest that traditional plant material in the main exporting countries will be replaced by new, higher-yielding varieties with a high starch content suitable for processing to meet the rising demand for tapioca products domestically and abroad. In Africa, output could increase in some countries due to producers' responses to higher cassava prices, to a recovery in plantings following drought and to the on-going diffusion of recently introduced high-yielding and pest-resistant varieties. An increase might also occur in Latin America and the Caribbean as technical improvements and higher producer prices are expected to induce farmers to increase the area under cultivation.

The volume of world cassava trade in 1997 will depend on various factors, including price developments for grains and soybeans in the EC and the availability of supplies in major exporting countries. A reduction of the set-aside area for cereals in the EC to 5 percent for the 1997 crop year to stimulate grain production could result in a drop in domestic grain prices. This in turn could render cassava less competitive in feed rations and reduce import demand of alternative feedstuffs, including cassava chips and pellets. Export supplies could be particularly affected by possible revisions to Thailand's export policy, which are currently under consideration, with respect to the allocation of quotas.

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