|No.6 December 2007|
|Crop Prospects and Food Situation|
Early prospects for the 2008 wheat crop are favourable. With the winter wheat planting virtually complete in the northern hemisphere, latest estimates point to a significant increase in the global wheat area, in response to current high prices and the removal of the compulsory land set-aside for 2008 in the EU, the world’s largest producer.
FAO’s latest forecast of the 2007 world cereal production has been revised downwards to 2 101 million tonnes, which is still record and substantially higher than last year. Most of the increase is in coarse grains, especially maize in the United States.
In the LIFDCs, as a group, 2008 cereal production is forecast to increase only marginally. However, if the largest countries, China and India, are excluded, the aggregate cereal output of the remaining countries is seen to register a significant decline.
International cereal export prices remain high and volatile reflecting sustained demand, in particular from the fast growing bio-fuels industry, coupled with historically low levels of stocks and insufficient increases in the 2007 production, mainly for wheat, in exporter countries.
In spite of an anticipated reduction in quantities imported, the cereal food import bill of LIFDCs in 2007/08 is forecast to increase sharply for the second consecutive year. Rises in international prices have translated into higher retail prices of basic food in many countries across the world.
The per caput food and feed consumption of cereals is forecast to decline in 2007/08 in LIFDCs. Most affected by the reduction will be low-income population groups.
Good cereal harvests, although slightly lower than last year’s bumper crops, are being gathered in most of the Sahel and Eastern Africa, with the exceptions of Senegal, Cape Verde and Somalia. Elsewhere in Western Africa, production is also anticipated to decline significantly in Nigeria, which can affect cereal prices in the subregion.
In Far East Asia, despite floods, landslides and cyclones during the growing season in several countries, a record 2007 cereal output has been obtained. In Bangladesh, the livelihood of over 8.5 million people was adversely affected by damage caused by Cyclone Sidr in mid-November.
|GIEWS||global information and early warning system on food and agriculture|