UN Food and Agriculture Organization - UNFAO
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global information and early warning system on food and agriculture

No. 2 - Rome, April 2001




The first forecast for world cereal output in 2001 is 1 889 million tonnes, almost 2 percent above 2000. Output of wheat is forecast at 585 million tonnes, unchanged from last year's crop, while that of coarse grains is seen to rise by almost 4 percent to 905 million tonnes. Production of rice (milled basis) is tentatively forecast to remain unchanged at 399 million tonnes.

At the forecast level, cereal output in 2001 would be insufficient to meet global utilization in the 2001/02 season, leading to a further reduction in world cereal stocks. In the current 2000/01 season, world cereal reserves are forecast to fall by 48 million tonnes, or 4 percent, to 645 million tonnes.

Food emergencies of varying intensity persist for over 60 million people worldwide as a result of natural and man-made disasters.

Global cereal utilization in 2000/01 is forecast to rise marginally to 1 907 million tonnes. The volume of cereals used for food consumption is currently forecast to rise by 1.1 percent, to 971 million tonnes, primarily among the developing countries in Asia and the CIS. Global feed usage of cereals is now forecast at 686 million tonnes in 2000/01 slightly up from 682 million tonnes in the previous year.

World cereal trade in 2000/01 (July/June) is now forecast at 233 million tonnes, 3 million tonnes down since the last report and 2 million tonnes below the previous season's record level. The decrease compared to the 1999/2000 season is attributed to smaller imports of wheat, which are forecast to fall to 107 million tonnes from 109 million tonnes in 1999/2000.

International cereal prices remain generally depressed, largely as a result of ample exportable supplies and slack demand. Wheat prices were stable in recent weeks and remain above last year's level, mainly because of stronger demand for high quality milling wheat. International maize prices remain below the previous season's already low level. In the rice market, the arrival of new crop supplies in some major exporting countries, and continued dull import demand, caused prices to decline further overall since December 2000.

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