FAO/GIEWS - Food
Outlook, November 1997
FOOD AID 1/
in 1996/97 sharply below earlier expectations and smallest in 4 decades
Based on the latest information, total cereal shipments
in 1996/97 (1 July through 30 June) under programme, project and emergency
food aid, fell for the fourth consecutive year to about 4.9 million tons,
some 2.5 million tons less than earlier forecast and 2.9 million tons,
or 37 percent, below the previous year (Table
A.10). Estimates of total 1996/97 grain shipments under the
Food Aid Convention (FAC), including pulses and derived products
slightly exceeded the 1995 agreed minimum commitments of 5.35 million tons
(in wheat equivalent) 2/. At this level, food aid shipments
would be the smallest since the start of food aid programmes in the mid-1950s,
some 10 million tons below the level reached in 1992/93 and less than a
half of the target established by the World Food Conference in 1974.
Most of the decline in 1996/97 was on account of smaller shipments from
the EC and the United States, although their 1996/97 contributions continued
to represent more than 70 percent of total grains shipped as food aid.
As regarding shipments channeled multilaterally in 1996/97,
their share of total shipments increased from the previous year mainly
because of the decline in bilateral aid flows.
The decline in food aid volume in 1996/97 was reflected
in smaller shipments to all regions and to the group of LIFDCs. Total cereal
shipments to LIFDCs fell to about 4 million tons, 2.6 million tons, or
39 percent, below the previous year. At this level, the proportion of cereal
shipments to LIFDCs covered by food aid plunged to just over 6 percent,
a ratio well below previous years and substantially smaller than in the
early 1980s when it averaged above 20 percent. Only a few countries (namely,
Afghanistan, Haiti, and Sudan), received more food aid in 1996/97 than
in the previous year.
1/ More detailed statistics on cereal and non-cereal
food aid shipments are available on the Internet as part of the FAO World
Wide Web at the following URL address: http://www.fao.org
under Statistical Database
and then All Databases.
2/ "Grains" under the Food Aid Convention include
wheat, barley, maize, millet, oats, rye, sorghum, rice, derived products,
and also pulses. The members could also provide cash equivalent against
their minimum annual amounts. Members of the 1995 Food Aid Convention includes
Argentina, Autralia, Canada, the European Community and its members, Japan,
Norway, Switzerland, and the United States.
FOOD AID SHIPMENTS - CEREALS (July/June)
SOURCE: 1993/94 - 1996/97, WFP; 1997/98 forecast,
||( . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . thousand tons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . )
|East Asia and SE Asia
|Europe and the CIS
|Latin America and the
Note: Totals computed from unrounded data.
Within the EC, a clear departure from the past trend is
emerging as the importance of the Community Action (organised by the European
Commission) in supporting shipments under programme food aid diminishes.
Last year, total cereal shipments under the Community Action were only
880 000 tons, down by 900 000 tons, or 50 percent, from the already reduced
1995/96 level. The decline is mainly because of recent changes in the rules
within the EC regarding food aid modalities that affect the composition
as well as the distribution channels of food aid from the Community. Cereal
food aid shipments from the United States in 1996/97 are estimated at just
over 2 million tons, about 1 million tons, or 35 percent, below the previous
year’s reduced level and as much as one-fourth of the 1992/93 volume. The
reduction in food aid allocations in the United States stems from budgetary
considerations, as well as smaller stocks in the past two seasons. Moreover,
although grain prices were generally weaker in 1996/97 compared to the
previous year, the aftermath of the surge in the 1995/96 season continued
to put pressure also on shipments in 1996/97, especially during the first
half of the season.
Cereal food aid
shipments in 1997/98 are likely to remain close to the 1996/97 reduced
Global cereal food aid shipments in 1997/98 (July/June) are
likely to remain at around 5 million tons. While, to-date, information
on food aid budget allocations provided to FAO by individual donor countries
points to a further reduction in food aid budgets in most cases, food aid
shipments in 1997/98 are likely to remain close to last year. This forecast
takes into consideration the fact that since the beginning of the current
season grain prices have remained considerably below the corresponding
period in 1996/97. Moreover, as was mentioned above, the total amount of
grain shipments under the FAC in 1996/97 just exceeded the minimum commitments
agreed to in 1995. Thus, it is unlikely that this year’s shipments would
fall below the 1995 agreed commitments. While the final outcome of the
current discussions on the future of the FAC could eventually influence
the size and the orientation of food aid, this will not be determined before
30 June 1998 and thus will not affect this year’s shipments.
aid shipments fell in 1996 and are likely to fall further in 1997
The latest estimate for global food aid shipments of non-cereal
food commodities in 1996 (January-December) is 862 000 tons, a reduction
of about 336 000 tons, or 28 percent, from the 1995 reduced volume 3/.
As with cereals, this decline affects all regions and also the LIFDCs.
Among the major non-cereal food commodities, the decline in 1996 mostly
reflected reduced shipments of pulses, edible fats, vegetable oils and
skim milk, while shipments of fish (including products) also fell. By contrast,
shipments of meat (including products) and dried fruit increased significantly.
As regards 1997, given the slow pace of recorded shipments since the beginning
of the current year, the eventual shipments of non-cereals as food aid
in 1997 are likely to be even smaller than in 1996.
to IEFR and PROs also decline in 1996
Contributions to the International Emergency Food Reserve
(IEFR) in 1996 fell to 849 000 tons for cereals from around 908 000 tons
in 1995 (Table A. 11). Similarly, contributions
were also reduced for non-cereals, to around 198 000 tons from 238 000
tons in 1995. As of September 1997, pledges to the 1997 IEFR have reached
651 000 tons for cereals and 142 000 tons for non-cereals. Contributions
to the 1996 Protracted Refugee Operations (PROs), also directed by the
WFP, amounted to 495 000 tons of cereals and 86 000 tons of other food
commodities, when compared to 535 000 tons for cereals and 58 000 tons
of for non-cereals in 1995. An estimated 486 000 tons of cereals and 64
000 tons of non-cereals have been pledged to-date under the 1997 PROs.
3/ While cereal shipments are monitored on a July/June
basis, shipments of non-cereals are monitored on calendar year basis and
the year 1997 is not yet complete.