FAO/GIEWS - Food Outlook No.2 - May 2002 p.15

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World production to rebound in 2002

FAO’s first forecast of world pulse production in 2002 is set at 56 million tonnes, nearly 7 percent above last year’s reduced level. Most of the anticipated expansion would be confined to relatively few large producing countries, especially in Asia. In India, the world’s largest producer, the Government’s latest forecast put this year’s total production at close to 13 million tonnes, up 2 million tonnes from the 2001 drought-reduced level, mostly reflecting improved production prospects for chickpeas and peas. In China, bean output is forecast to rise given the increase in planted area. Improved weather in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Syria and Turkey is expected to boost their production, which consists mainly of chickpeas and lentils. By contrast, water shortages are expected to constrain this season’s harvest in Pakistan. In Latin America and the Caribbean, Brazil is expected to record a 500 000-tonne increase in its production of dry beans, the country’s sole major pulse crop, as an expansion in planting should more than offset a slight drop in yields. Dry bean output is also forecast to increase in Mexico, reflecting a rise in both plantings and yields, as a result of improved moisture conditions, while chickpea production is anticipated to drop as farmers are moving more land to beans and maize. In Africa, a notable drop of 30 percent in dry bean production is currently anticipated in South Africa following a reported switch from dry beans to maize and oilseeds. Dry weather has dampened production prospects in Algeria, Morocco and Tanzania, while excessive precipitation may have damaged the crop in Rwanda. In Burundi, seed shortages have been reported to have constrained plantings.

In North America, Canada is expected to gather a crop of about 4.1 million tonnes, some 18 percent more than in 2001, driven mostly by gains in yields. Based on the latest seeding intentions survey, except for dry beans, seeded area to dry peas, chickpeas and lentils is expected to decrease. In the United States, favourable prices have stimulated farmers to increase plantings of pulse crops, which should boost production. In Australia, total production is forecast at around 2.4 million tonnes, unchanged from last year, since increases in lupins and chickpeas are likely to offset reductions in dry peas, lentils and broad beans. Similarly, in the EC, total pulse production, mostly dry peas, is expected to remain close to last year’s level as an expected drop in area could be offset by a recovery in yields, especially in France, Spain and the United Kingdom.

World Pulse Production

2000 2001 2002
  ( . . . million tonnes . . . .)
Africa 8.0 8.4 8.1
Asia 25.6 23.4 25.4
Europe 7.3 7.7 7.8
Latin America & Caribbean 5.9 5.4 5.9
North America 6.0 4.8 5.8
Oceania 1.9 2.7 2.8
World 54.6 52.4 55.8
Developed countries 39.1 36.9 39.1
Developing countries 15.5 15.5 16.7

Source: FAO

Trade to increase slightly in 2002

Global trade in pulses in 2002 is forecast at some 7 million tonnes, up slightly from 2001. South Asia is likely to maintain its status as the world’s largest importing region of pulses for food consumption. In Pakistan, problems with domestic production are expected to give rise to larger imports. India could also import more pulses, despite the anticipated recovery in domestic production, as rising disposable incomes are stimulating consumption. India’s foreign purchases of yellow peas, which in the previous season rose in response to high domestic prices of chickpeas, are likely to decrease this year following improved domestic supply prospects of chickpeas. China’s dry pea imports are expected to expand in 2002 following the Government’s recent decision to lower its value added tax on feed peas from 17 percent to 13 percent, the same as the rate charged on other feed products. Imports by countries in the Near East and North Africa are likely to increase in 2002, to cover the expected production shortfalls and also to meet growing domestic demand. Pulse food aid shipments to Afghanistan are expected to increase this year. Purchases by Egypt, however, may fall, based on the slow pace of imports so far this year. In eastern and

central Africa, the emergencies and difficult food situations facing a number of countries are expected to give rise to larger pulse imports this season mainly in the form of food aid. Dry bean imports by South Africa are forecast to rise in 2002, mostly to compensate for the expected fall in domestic output. In Latin America and the Caribbean, dry bean imports by Brazil and Mexico are also forecast to drop, based on better domestic crop prospects, while those by Cuba and Venezuela may increase. In Europe, dry pea and lupin imports by the EC will likely grow this year, mostly in response to the continuous ban on the use of meat and bone meal in animal feeding and also larger availabilities in world markets.

On the export side, Canada is forecast to boost its exports in 2002 to about 3 million tonnes, up 15 percent from 2001, thus strengthening its position as the world export leader of pulses. Exports by the United States are anticipated to recover in 2002, supported by large concessional sales and food aid shipments. Exports from Australia are also forecast to expand, with increased shipments of chickpeas and lupins more than offsetting reduced broad bean sales. Shipments by China, Myanmar and Turkey are likely to grow further. By contrast, the expected contraction in Mexico’s chickpea crop should result in lower deliveries. Argentina’s exports, mainly in the form of alubia and black beans, could fall, in view of reduced import demand by Brazil, its main export market.

Prices likely to decline

Overall price prospects for pulses for the remaining half of 2002 point to some weakness, given expectations of large supplies in several exporting countries. Dry bean prices, so far supported by a strong import demand and tight global supplies, are likely to come under downward pressure if the large planting intentions in Canada and the United States materialize. Dry pea prices are also forecast to decline, reflecting production increases, especially in Canada, as well as weaker demand for food grade peas. In chickpea markets, larger crops in Australia and Canada, along with some increases also in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkey and Syria, may result in depressed prices. Likewise, ample stocks in Canada and the United States as well as prospects for improved supplies in Turkey and Syria could put lentil prices under pressure.

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