global information and early warning system on food and agriculture
Latest information indicates a slightly larger global cereal output in 2001, of 1 870 million tonnes (including rice in milled terms). However, even at this level, production would still be less than the anticipated utilization requirements in 2001/02, leading to a significant draw-down of cereal stocks.
While Afghanistan currently faces a grave food supply situation, food emergencies persist in many other countries (see box on page 6).
World cereal trade in 2001/02 is forecast at 233 million tonnes, unchanged from the previous season's estimated volume. Stronger demand for wheat and rice would be offset by a reduction in coarse grain trade.
International prices for most cereals have changed little since September. Wheat prices have fallen below the previous year's levels, reflecting relatively large export supplies and slack import demand. Large maize inventories, on top of abundant supplies of feed wheat, continue to weigh on feed grain prices, while new rice crop supplies on the market have kept international rice prices under pressure in the past three months.
Total cereal food aid in 2001/02 (July/June) could increase by 1 million tonnes, to 9.5 million tonnes (in grain equivalent), after a sharp drop in the previous season. Latest information puts total shipments in 2000/01 at 8.5 million tonnes, 24 percent smaller than in 1999/2000.
Cereal import bills could rise in 2001/02. Should the current forecasts for cereal trade, food aid and prices for 2001/02 materialize, the more vulnerable and food deficit regions could face larger cereal import bills this season than in 2000/01.
Global sugar demand in 2001 is currently forecast to reach 130.7 million tonnes, up by about 2 million tonnes from the previous year, and overtaking annual production, now forecast at 129.4 million tonnes, for the first time in seven years. Although early indications point to a production deficit also in 2002, adequate global stocks are expected to ensure continued market stability throughout 2002.