Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture
FAO's first forecast of world cereal production in 2000 is 1 890 million tonnes, some 1 percent above 1999. Output of wheat is forecast at 595 million tonnes, 1 percent up from 1999, that of coarse grains at 900 million tonnes, nearly 3 percent up, while the rice crop (milled basis) is tentatively forecast to fall by 1 percent to 395 million tonnes.
While early forecasts point to higher cereal production in 2000, output would not be sufficient to meet expected utilization requirements in 2000/01, and global cereal reserves would have to be drawn down.
Food emergencies persist in 34 countries throughout the world, and unfavourable prospects in several others could lead to localized supply difficulties (see page 4).
FAO's latest forecast of world cereal trade in 1999/2000 is 222 million tonnes, unchanged from the previous report and some 4 percent above the previous year's volume. The increase is attributed to larger imports of both wheat and coarse grains, which would more than offset the likely decline in rice trade.
International grain prices have been volatile and slightly higher in recent weeks, reflecting active trade and concern over adverse weather for the 2000 crop in the major producing areas of the United States. Ample new-crop supplies and dull trading pressured international rice prices downward. The FAO Export Price Index for Rice averaged 104 points in March, its lowest level since June 1994.
Global cassava production recovered in 1999, resulting in an overall increase in food, feed and industrial utilization. Large export availabilities led to a substantial expansion of trade, but prices fell to their lowest level in the decade.
Global milk production is forecast to increase slightly in 2000, but with sustained import demand expected, exportable supplies, especially of milk powder, could be in short supply. As a result, international prices for most dairy products, and especially milk powder, are expected to increase during 2000.