FAO’s latest forecast for world cereal output in 2004 has been raised by 29 million tonnes since the previous report to 1 985 million tonnes, which puts it on par with the expected utilization in 2004/05. This will avert the need for another major drawdown in global cereal stocks after sharp declines in the past four years.
World cereal utilization in 2004/05 is forecast at 1 985 million tonnes, 1.4 percent above the estimated utilization in 2003/04. Feed and industrial usage of coarse grains is likely to grow fastest.
FAO’s forecast for world cereal stocks by the close of the seasons in 2005 has been raised significantly to just slightly below their opening level, after much sharper drops in each of the past four years.
Desert Locust infestations are posing a threat to agricultural production in the Sahel this year. Widespread breeding and formation of swarms is reported throughout the Sahelian zone. Significant crop damage is already reported in some countries. Control operations are underway but need strengthening to prevent the situation from worsening.
Global cereal trade is set to decline sharply in 2004/05 to 227.6 million tonnes, mostly reflecting reduced import demand for wheat and coarse grains because of good crops in several traditional importing countries.
International cereal prices weakened in recent months, mostly due to favourable supply prospects and generally weaker demand.
High sugar prices prevail on international markets, reflecting continuing strong growth in world sugar consumption, relative to output, and an anticipated fall in stocks worldwide.