|No.1 February 2007|
|Crop Prospects and Food Situation|
Low-Income Food-Deficit Country food situation overview
In the group of 82 LIFDCs the early outlook for the 2007 main winter wheat crop, to be harvested from June, is favourable in Europe, CIS countries in Asia, as well in Egypt but prospects are uncertain in Morocco where plantings were delayed by insufficient rains. In Southern Africa, prospects for the main maize crop, to be harvested from April, improved with good rains in the past month but in some areas of the subregion, in particular southern Mozambique, central Zimbabwe and southern Zambia, erratic and below average precipitation since the beginning of the season are likely to have compromised yield potential. In Asia, growing conditions for the 2007 dormant wheat crop have been generally favourable so far. In Eastern Africa, prospects for the secondary “short rains” cereal crops are generally favourable, except for Somalia affected by severe floods at the beginning of the season. Elsewhere, planting of the 2007 cereal crops has not yet started.
With the 2006 cereal harvests almost complete in Eastern Africa and Asia, FAO’s latest estimate of the cereal production of the group of 82 LIFDCs has been further revised up to some 880 million tonnes, an increase of 2.4 percent from the previous year’s good level. When the two largest countries, China and India, accounting for two-thirds of the total production are excluded, the cereal output of the rest of LIFDCs increased at a more pronounced rate of 4.4 percent. Record or above-average cereal crops have been obtained in most regions of the world, including North, Southern, Western and Eastern Africa, as well as in Far East Asia and the Asian CIS, while good harvests were gathered elsewhere.
Reflecting the good cereal harvests in 2006, import requirements in marketing years 2006/07 or 2007 are lower than actual imports in the previous year in most LIFDCs. At aggregate level, however, the imports of the LIFDCs are forecast at 87 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from 2005/06. This is the result of high imports from India, where requirements were estimated at 6.6 million tonnes, against some 759 000 tonnes in the previous year, mainly to replenish wheat stocks. The significant increase in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea cereal import requirements, amounting to 1 million tonnes, mainly reflects the low level of imports in 2006 following sharp reductions in food aid allocations. In LIFDCs in Africa as a whole, import requirements in 2006/07 or 2007, both on commercial basis and as food aid, have declined by 10 percent.
In Southern Africa, where the marketing years end in March in most cases, cereal imports reported to FAO as to mid-January, have covered only one-quarter of the estimated requirements. By contrast, food aid pledges have been adequate so far, covering three-quarters of the needs. Elsewhere, in Northern Africa and Central America, good progress has been made in fulfilling the cereal deficits. In Eastern Africa and Western Africa the marketing years have just started. In Asia, the largest importers of the region India and Indonesia, have already covered some 80 percent of the national deficits, estimated both at 6.6 million tonnes.
Table 2. Cereal import position of Low-Income Food-Deficit countries ( thousand tonnes)
1For definition of import requirements see terminology
2Estimates based on information available as of mid-January 2007.
|GIEWS||global information and early warning system on food and agriculture|