|No.4 July 2007|
|Crop Prospects and Food Situation|
FAO’s latest forecast for world cereal production in 2007 continues to point to a record output, now put at 2 121 million tonnes. The bulk of the increase is expected in maize but a sharp rise in wheat production and a larger rice crop would also contribute to the record harvest.
The record 2007 world cereal production forecast is largely supported by the prospect of an all-time high maize harvest in the United States, where producers have planted the largest area since 1940, in response to strong demand from the biofuel industry. However, elsewhere among the main cereal producers in the developed country group, prospects for the 2007 harvest have deteriorated significantly in Europe after drought set-in in south-eastern parts of the region.
For the LIFDCs as a group, after four successive years of relatively strong growth, cereal production in 2007 is forecast to increase by just 1.2 percent from 2006, which is below the rate of population growth. If the largest producers China and India are excluded, the aggregate cereal output of the rest of LIFDCs is forecast to decline slightly from last year.
In North Africa, in Morocco, this year’s cereal crop has been devastated by drought and is estimated at just one-quarter of the previous year’s level. In Southern Africa, the outcome of the recent main season cereal harvest was mixed with a sharply reduced output in Zimbabwe but a record production in Malawi.
In Western Africa, the cropping season has been slow to start in the Sahel due to irregular rains so far. In Eastern Africa, prospects for the 2007 cereal crops are favourable in most countries, with the exception of Somalia where the output is anticipated to be reduced by irregular rains in the main growing areas.
In Asia, prospects for the main 2007 coarse grain and rice crops are reported to be generally favourable in the Far East, following the timely arrival of the seasonal monsoon rains.
In South America, planting of the 2007 wheat crops is already completed or well underway in most countries. Early indications point to an area similar to the reduced level of the previous year. However, the final outcome will depend very much on the outcome in Argentina, the largest producer, where lack of rainfall is hampering planting in some parts.
Prices of staple foods are soaring in Bolivia, largely as a result of severe adverse weather earlier in the year, which had a significant negative impact on crop production and infrastructure.
|GIEWS||global information and early warning system on food and agriculture|