|No.1 April 2006|
|Crop Prospects and Food Situation|
Low-Income Food-Deficit country food situation overview
Early prospects for the 2006 cereal production are favourable in the group of 82 Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs). In Southern Africa, where the main season cereal crop is being harvested, good outputs are expected in most countries. In Asia Far East, Near East and CIS countries, harvesting of the wheat and early rice crops has started and the outlook is overall positive, although in India the wheat crop will be lower than early anticipated. By contrast, in South America, floods in Ecuador have impaired prospects for the 2006 maize and rice crops. Elsewhere, planting of the main cereal seasons is about to start or is scheduled later in the year.
FAO's latest estimate of the 2005 aggregate cereal output in LIFDCs indicates a significant increase of 4.4 percent from the previous year's level. Excluding China and India, the aggregate production of the rest of the LIFDCs expanded at a higher rate of 8 percent. This reflects good cereal crops in almost all sub-regions of the world, with the main exceptions of countries in Southern Africa, Morocco and Somalia that were affected by drought.
Total cereal imports by the LIFDCs in marketing years 2005/06 or 2006 (calendar year) are currently forecast close to 84 million tonnes, which is down 12 percent from the previous season's high of almost 96 million tonnes. More than half of the decline is in China, following good 2005 cereal production. Import requirements also declined in most other countries of the Far East Asia, including Pakistan, DPR Korea and Indonesia which gathered bumper cereal harvests in 2005. Similarly, lower imports are expected in Western Africa and CIS Asia where the 2005 cereal production recovered markedly from the reduced levels of the previous year. However, import needs, in particular food aid, increased by almost one-quarter in Southern Africa, where adverse weather sharply reduced the 2005 cereal production, especially in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Out of the total LIFDC's imports in 2005/06, some 6 percent, or 4.85 million tonnes of cereals, is required in the form of food aid. Over half of the volume is needed for drought-affected and chronically food insecure populations in Southern Africa and Eastern Africa, where notwithstanding a bumper aggregate cereal crop, serious food shortages have emerged in Somalia and pastoral areas of Kenya and Ethiopia due to prolonged drought conditions. Substantial amounts of food assistance are also required in Far East Asia for chronically vulnerable populations in DPR Korea and Bangladesh, in spite of overall improved food supply situations. By April 2006, available information indicated that some 65 percent of the total food aid requirements of LIFDCs have been secured by distributions/pledges. In Southern Africa, where the marketing year (April/March) has just finished, virtually all the requirements were covered by food aid commitments but the slow pace of distributions resulted in food difficulties. Similarly, the 2005/06 (July/June) food aid needs of vulnerable people in the three LIFDCs of Central America and the Caribbean (Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua) were fully covered by donor's commitments. However, in Eastern Africa, where the marketing year of most countries starts in January, half of the food aid requirements (January/December) are still uncovered. More pledges are urgently needed.
Table 3. Cereal import position of Low-Income Food-Deficit countries1 ( thousand tonnes)
1 For more details see Table A1 in the Statistical appendix.
3 For definition of import requirements see terminology.
3 Estimates based on information available as of April 2006.
|GIEWS||global information and early warning system on food and agriculture|