Economic and Social Department

 global information and early warning system on food and agriculture

 food outlook
No. 4 Rome, September 2003

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Cereals: Supply/Demand Roundup

Cereals: Current Production and Crop Prospects

Cereals: Trade

Cereals: Carryover stocks

Cereals: Export Prices


Appendix Tables



As of early September 2003, some 38 countries (underlined) face serious food shortages requiring international food assistance.


In eastern Africa, recent heavy rains and floods in parts of Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia have killed a number of people, displaced thousands, destroyed or damaged crops and increased the likelihood of serious localized food shortages. In Eritrea, serious and widespread food shortages persist due to last year’s drought, poverty and the lingering effects of the war with Ethiopia. About 2.3 million people are now reported to be facing severe food shortages. Of these, about 1.4 million are reported to be drought affected. Similarly, in Ethiopia, severe food shortages continue to be reported in various parts of the country, mostly in southern parts. A recent multi-agency assessment indicated that the number of people in need of food assistance is now about 13.2 million compared to the earlier figure of 12.5 million. In Tanzania, prolonged drought conditions in several parts have affected a large number of households with an estimated 1.9 million people in need of food assistance. In Uganda, the humanitarian situation in northern and eastern parts has worsened due to escalation of conflict. Recent fighting between Government forces and rebels has displaced more than 820 000 people bringing the total number in need of emergency assistance to more than 1.6 million. In Burundi, food aid continues to be required for a large number of people affected by the escalation of the civil conflict in recent months. In southern Africa, despite an improvement over last year’s cereal harvest, substantial amounts of emergency food aid are still required. In Zimbabwe, 5.5 million people, or half of the country’s population, are in need of emergency food aid as a result of drought and the prevailing economic problems. In Mozambique, the overall cereal harvest was good but some 940 000 people in southern provinces require food assistance due to a poor maize harvest. In Angola, despite the end of the civil war and a good cereal harvest this year, food aid is required for 1.4 million people, mainly returnees and vulnerable groups. In Madagascar, 600 000 people need emergency food aid in southern provinces where the 2003 foodcrops were seriously affected by drought. Emergency food assistance is also required in parts of Malawi, Zambia, Swaziland, and Lesotho, affected by localized crop failure and for those affected by HIV/AIDS. In western Africa, a serious humanitarian situation persists in Liberia, with over 300 000 people displaced by civil war. In Côte d’Ivoire, although the overall security situation has improved, the food situation remains critical, particularly in the west and north. In Mauritania, the food situation is still precarious, although it has improved somewhat, following food aid distributions and subsidized sales of wheat. In Cape Verde, food assistance continues to be needed following last year’s poor harvest. Food shortages are also being experienced in Guinea and Sierra Leone, related to civil conflicts. In central Africa, civil strife in the Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central Africa Republic has displaced large populations which need food assistance.

In Asia, typhoons and floods have killed hundreds of people, displaced thousands, and destroyed or damaged crops, causing food shortages in several countries. In China, while central, eastern and southern regions have suffered the worst floods since 1991, the southern region is also suffering from drought. Indonesia has suffered from a severe drought this year, while a powerful typhoon hit vast agricultural areas in northern Luzon in the Philippines with an estimated loss of 446 000 tonnes of maize. In Bangladesh, some 45 000 people have been displaced by floods and many rice seedbeds destroyed. Mongolia has suffered the worst flooding since 1982, after droughts in recent years. In DPR, Korea, the current crop prospects are favorable, but the country suffers from severe chronic food shortages. In the Asian CIS, food assistance continues to be needed for vulnerable groups in Georgia, Armenia and Tajikistan following recent shocks from drought and civil strife. In the Near East, the outlook for the 2003 crop production is generally favourable. In Iraq, the harvesting season is complete. An FAO/WFP Crop, Food Supply and Nutrition Assessment Mission has completed its field work and a report is under preparation. The food situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is serious due to market disruption by the persistent conflict. In Afghanistan, despite a record harvest this year, access to food for a large part of the population is difficult and food aid is still necessary.

In Central America and the Caribbean, food aid continues to be provided in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to people affected by recurrent natural disasters and economic shocks. In Haiti, emergency food aid is required for drought-affected population in the North-West region. In Europe food assistance continues to be necessary for refugees, the internally displaced and vulnerable people in Serbia and Montenegro and in Chechnya in the Russian Federation.


1/ This updates information published in the August 2003 issue of Foodcrops and Shortages.

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