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

No. 2 - Rome, May 2002


FAO’s first forecasts for cereal production in 2002 and utilization in 2002/03 indicate that output will remain below the expected level of utilization and stocks will have to be drawn down again in 2003 for the fourth consecutive year. However, supplies are expected to remain ample, particularly of wheat and coarse grains.

Despite a generally favourable global food outlook, some 34 countries around the world are experiencing food shortages. The emerging situation in southern Africa gives particular cause for concern (see box on page 6).

World cereal output in 2002 is forecast at 1 905 million tonnes (including rice in milled equivalent), up 1.1 percent from 2001. Output of wheat is forecast at 603 million tonnes, up 3.7 percent, while that of coarse grains is seen to rise marginally to 910 million tonnes. By contrast, production of rice is tentatively forecast at 392 million tonnes (milled basis), down 1.1 percent from 2001.

FAO’s first forecast of world cereal trade in 2002/03 is 236 million tonnes, 1 million tonnes down from the estimated volume in 2001/02. Global imports of wheat are forecast to decline in the 2002/03 July/June trade year while those of coarse grains are expected to increase. Rice trade in 2003 is tentatively forecast to decrease.

International wheat and coarse grain prices remain under downward pressure, on the basis of large exportable supplies and generally favourable production prospects. By contrast, rice prices have held steady notwithstanding the arrival of new crop supply on the market.

Meat supplies on international markets are expected to rebound in 2002 as animal disease restrictions are lifted for previously afflicted meat exporting countries. A return to normal consumption patterns should favour increased trade, but large supplies of all meats are expected to dampen any significant upward price movement.

International prices for dairy products have fallen substantially since mid-2001, with the result that prices for most dairy products are currently at levels rarely seen over the past decade. It would appear that the decline has bottomed out and that prices for some dairy products may rise during the second-half of the year.

Growth in global output of oils and fats is forecast to slow down in 2001/02, but could increase for oilcakes and meals. While international prices for oils and fats are expected to recover further from the previous season, the oilcakes and meals sector could suffer downward price pressure as supplies increase relatively more than demand.

World pulse production is forecast to grow strongly in 2002, and trade could also increase, but prices will likely decline as exportable supplies are expected to be large.

Sugar production is forecast to increase again in 2002/03, signaling another season of excess supply and potentially weaker prices.

Top Of PageTable Of ContentsNext Page