Food Outlook No.3 - July 2002 p.7

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Strong growth in cereal demand expected in 2001/02

World cereal utilization in 2001/021 / is forecast to expand by 1.4 percent from the previous season, to reach 1 938 million tonnes, which is close to the ten-year trend value. The volume of cereals used for human food is forecast to rise by 1 percent, or 10 million tonnes, to reach 971 million tonnes. Global feed use could expand by 1.3 percent to 706 million tonnes, while other uses of cereals are forecast to increase by 3 percent. Based on the forecast for global food consumption, per caput cereal consumption would be unchanged at 159 kilograms.

Per caput cereal intake remains steady

For the developing countries, cereal food consumption is forecast to rise to 795 million tonnes in 2001/02, some 8 million tonnes above the estimate for 2000/01.

At the forecast level, per caput cereal food consumption would be 166 kilograms, the same as in the previous season. Food consumption in the low-income, food-deficit countries (LIFDCs), considered by FAO to be the group of countries most vulnerable to food insecurity, is expected to expand by 1 percent to 644 million tonnes in 2001/02, an increase of 7 million tonnes over the previous year. On a per caput basis, cereal food consumption in the LIFDCs is forecast at 167 kilograms, down marginally from the previous season.

World Cereal Utilization

2000/01 2001/02 2002/03 forecast
  (. . . . . . million tonnes . . . . . .)
Total utilization      
World 1 911 1 938 1 951
  Developing countries 1 162 1 171 1 184
  Developed countries 749 767 767
Food consumption1/      
World 961 971 984
  Developing countries 787 795 808
  Developed countries 175 176 176
Feed use      
World 697 706 704
  Developing countries 259 261 263
  Developed countries 439 445 442
Other uses 2/      
World 253 261 263
  Developing countries 117 114 114
  Developed countries 136 146 149
Source: FAO. Note: Total computed from unrounded data.
1/ For direct human consumption. 2/ Other uses include seed, industrial uses and post harvest losses.

Much of the global increase in cereal food consumption, some 8 million tonnes, is expected to be concentrated in the developing countries in Asia, particularly in the South and South East subregion, taking their total utilization to some 615 million tonnes. Better than average crops in some countries and large supplies in most of the countries in the subregion, along with growing incomes and populations, are likely to contribute to the expansion in food consumption. Together, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Viet Nam are expected to account for half of the Asian increase,

while China (Mainland) and the Philippines could account for another 1 million tonnes. In Africa, cereal food consumption is forecast to increase by over 1 percent to 118 million tonnes, with most of the gains in North Africa and Sudan. By contrast, in the four countries in southern Africa most affected by the current food crisis, namely Lesotho, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia, cereal food consumption is forecast to decline by 9 percent in 2001/02. However, the uncertain political and economic situations in some southern African countries prevent an accurate forecast at this time. In addition, much of the actual consumption levels in that subregion will depend on the amount of cereal food aid received during this year. The consumption of cereals as food in the Latin American and Caribbean region could increase the fastest among the developing countries by 1.7 percent, to reach almost 70 million tonnes in 2001/02, in part due to above average coarse grain crops. Small increases in food consumption are also forecast in a number of CIS and eastern European countries. In particular, the Russian Federation could see an expansion of almost 400 000 tonnes, or 2 percent, following one of the largest grain crops in the past decade.

Per Caput Food Consumption of Cereals

2000/01 2001/02 2002/03
  (. . . . . kg. per head . . . . .)
Developing countries 166 166 166
Developed countries 134 134 134
TOTAL 159 159 159
Low-income food-deficit countries


(excluding China
and India)



Wheat 71 71 71
Coarse grains 29 29 30
Rice (milled) 59 59 59
Source: FAO

Global feed demand continues to expand

In 2001/02 world feed use is forecast to rise by 1.3 percent, or 9 million tonnes, to 706 million tonnes. Most of the increase is expected in the CIS, the EC, Latin America and the Caribbean and North Africa. The largest gains are expected in the Russian Federation in response to bumper crops estimated for 2001. In the EC, cereal feed use could reach a record following the BSE and other food-safety related crisis during the previous season. In addition, relatively low domestic grain prices and large supplies, primarily as a result of large imports of feed quality wheat from eastern European and the CIS countries, and short supplies of alternative feeds, such as cassava and corn (maize) gluten, are likely to also contribute to an increase in grain feed use this season. Bumper coarse grain crops in Brazil and Mexico are expected to result in large increases in feed use in those countries. In Brazil, strong domestic and export demand for poultry meat can also be considered as contributing to growing feed demand. Better wheat and coarse grain crops estimated for most North African countries in 2001 are also expected to boost feed use in that subregion.

In the United States, grain feeding is officially forecast to fall in 2001/02, due largely to a contraction of livestock inventories. Animal diseases and food safety concerns in Japan could depress livestock production and, thus, cereal feed use in that country.

“Other uses” of cereals expected to be down

“Other uses” of cereals includes seed, post-harvest losses and industrial uses. Post-harvest losses tend to fluctuate in proportion to production changes, in particular in developing countries. On the other hand, demand for industrial products made from cereals are largely determined by factors outside the agricultural sector. For example, in the United States, according to official sources, maize used to produce sugar substitutes, glucose, dextrose and starches is forecast to increase by 2 percent in 2001/02, while the use of maize to produce fuel additives (primarily ethanol), the largest non-food/feed use of cereals in the United States, could jump by 10 percent. The latter increase is attributed to higher use of capacity and the addition of new plants supported by a federal programme to promote biofuels. Rising petroleum prices may also have encouraged suppliers to shift towards lower-cost alternative fuels.

Growth in cereal utilization could slow in 2002/03

The growth in world cereal utilization in 2002/03 is forecast to slow down to 0.7 percent, one-half of the previous season’s rate. Thus, total utilization is forecast to reach 1 951 million tonnes, just below the ten-year trend value. The volume of cereals used for human food is forecast to rise by 1.3 percent, or 13 million tonnes, to reach 984 million tonnes. Based on the forecast for global food consumption, no change in per caput cereal consumption is expected. Global feed use could contract slightly from 2001/02 to 704 million tonnes, while other uses may increase only slightly.

1/ Aggregation of individual country’s marketing years ending in 2002.

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