No.1††February†2008††
†† Crop Prospects and Food Situation

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Highlights

COUNTRIES IN CRISIS REQUIRING EXTERNAL ASSISTANCE

Food Emergencies Update

Global cereal supply and demand brief

FAO global cereal supply and demand indicators

Low-Income Food-Deficit Countriesí food situation overview

Regional reviews

Statistical Appendix

Note

Low-Income Food-Deficit Countriesí1/ food situation overview

Early outlook for 2008 cereal crops generally favourable in LIFDCs

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In Southern Africa, despite severe localized floods in Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, prospects for the 2008 main season cereal crops, to be harvested from April, are overall favourable following abundant rains during the first half of the season. In North Africa, the outlook for the 2008 winter cereal crops is mixed: prospects are satisfactory in Egypt but uncertain in Morocco where more rains are needed after a prolonged dry spell. In Asia, early forecasts point to record wheat crops for the second consecutive year in several countries, including China, India and Pakistan. However, the main rice crop is still to be planted. In Eastern Africa, harvesting of the 2007/08 secondary crops is underway in Somalia and Kenya, where outputs are anticipated to be sharply reduced due to dry weather. Elsewhere, the 2008 main cropping seasons have not yet started in countries of Eastern and Western Africa, Central America and Asia.

2007 cereal production increases marginally in LIFDCs as a group but declines when China and India are excluded

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FAOís estimate of the LIFDCs 2007 aggregate cereal output has been revised marginally upwards to 894.4 million tonnes, which still is less than 1 percent above the good level of 2006. However, excluding the largest producers China and India, the output of the rest of LIFDCs declines by 2 percent to 300 million tonnes. The decrease is mainly due to a sharply reduced harvest in Morocco and smaller crops in Western Africa, where the aggregate cereal output declined from the 2006 record level although remaining well above average. The most significant reductions at national level were in Senegal, Cape Verde and Ghana. In Eastern Africa, 2007 aggregate cereal production is estimated unchanged from last yearís bumper crop, with average or above-average crops in most countries, except in Somalia, which was adversely affected by dry weather. In Southern Africa, good cereal outputs were generally obtained, but in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland harvests were reduced by drought. In the Asian Far East, cereal outputs were record high in China, India and Indonesia. In the Near East and CIS countries, the outturn was mixed with reduced harvests in several countries, mainly Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In Central America, a bumper cereal crop was gathered in Honduras, in response to production support policies, but in Nicaragua the output was reduced by the adverse effect of hurricanes during the growing season. In Haiti an average cereal crop was harvested prior to the passage of hurricanes that badly damaged other food crops.

Table 4. Cereal production1 of LIFDCs ( million tonnes)
2005 2006 2007 Change: 2007
over 2006 (%)
Africa (44 countries) 114.3 128.5 119.2 -7.2
North Africa25.430.122.3-25.8
Eastern Africa31.033.933.90.0
Southern Africa9.111.812.22.9
Western Africa45.449.147.4-3.5
Central Africa3.33.63.5-2.8
Asia (25 countries) 734.3 748.9 764.0 2.0
CIS in Asia14.813.213.1-1.3
Far East704.6721.6737.22.2
- China (Mainland)371.5386.1391.21.3
- India193.8195.3203.24.0
Near East14.914.113.8-2.1
Central
America (3 countries)
1.7 1.7 1.7 4.0
South
America (1 country)
1.7 1.6 1.7 1.3
Oceania (6 countries) 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Europe (3 countries) 7.7 7.4 7.7 3.8
Total (82 countries) 859.7 888.1 894.4 0.7
1 Includes rice in milled terms.
Note: Totals computed from unrounded data.

 

Cereal imports to decrease in 2007/08 but cereal import bill increases significantly

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Cereal imports of the LIFDCs as a group in 2007/08 are expected to decline by about 2 percent following a sharp reduction in shipments to India, (which in the previous year imported high volumes to increase stocks), and overall good harvests in most regions. However, imports will rise markedly in countries where crops were reduced by drought, including Morocco, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland, that even in normal years rely heavily on imports to fulfil consumption needs. Elsewhere, substantially higher imports are needed in the Democratic Republic of Korea to avoid deterioration of the nutritional status of the population, as well as in Tajikistan and Iraq, which experienced significant drops in production. Increased imports are also forecast in Pakistan, to replenish stocks.

Despite the reduction in quantities to be imported by the LIFDCs as a group, their cereal import bill is projected at US$33 million, an increase of 35 percent for the second consecutive year, as a result of soaring international cereal prices and freight rates. A higher increase of 50 percent is estimated for the LIFDCs in Africa, which will be putting a heavy financial burden on several countries.

Table 5.Cereal import position of LIFDCs ( thousand tonnes)
2006/07 or
2007

Actual
imports
2007/08 or 2008
Requirements 1 Import position 2
Total
imports:
of which
food aid
Total
imports:
of which
food aid
pledges
Africa (44 countries) 36 159 38 493 2 316 14 566 1 222
North Africa15 76818 451 011 181 0
Eastern Africa5 2954 598 1 1851 093 593
Southern Africa3 0843 601 6142 052 481
Western Africa10 33910 141 441 198 118
Central Africa1 6741 702 76 42 30
Asia (25 countries) 42 909 39 155 1 655 18 341 594
CIS in Asia3 7403 507 1671 990 24
Far East28 83524 703 1 31312 679 469
Near East10 33510 945 1753 672 101
Central
America (3 countries)
1 647 1 633 166 563 111
South
America (1 country)
944 1 010 20 580 0
Oceania (6 countries) 416 416 0 0 0
Europe (3 countries) 1 614 1 435 0 314 0
Total (82 countries) 83 689 82 141 4 157 34 365 1 927
1 The import requirement is the difference between utilization (food, feed, other uses, exports plus closing
stocks) and domestic availability (production plus opening stocks).
2 Estimates based on information available as of end January 2008.
Note: Totals computed from unrounded data.

 

Table 6. Cereal import bill in LIFDCs by region and type
(July/June, US$ million)
2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08
estimate f'cast
LIFDC 14 025 15 804 18 870 18 040 24 460 33 113
Africa6 5017 0988 4178 40010 21215 210
Asia7 0148 0529 7678 88013 33716 658
Latin America and Caribbean 308380407468553723
Oceania6976788299124
Europe133198201209260397
Wheat7 7628 80210 81410 58114 03420 729
Coarse grains3 2813 3003 3943 0884 6145 490
Rice2 9823 7024 6624 3705 8126 894
Source: FAO.

 

Fast import progress in North Africa

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Available information in GIEWS by the end of January 2008 indicates that against the LIFDCsí estimated aggregate cereal import requirement of 82 million tonnes in the 2007/08 marketing years, 42 percent has already been covered by commercial imports and food aid deliveries/pledges. Despite the higher international prices, the pace of imports this season is higher than in the previous one when only 37 percent of the needs were covered at the same time of the year. This mainly reflects faster imports by Morocco and Egypt in North Africa. In all other subregions, imports are progressing at about the same speed as in the previous year, except in Central America because of delays in Haiti.

Substantial drawdown on stocks

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Due to lower 2007 cereal production in the group of LIFDCs (excluding China and India) and lower and more expensive imports in the 2007/08 marketing seasons, a significant drawdown of cereal stocks will be necessary to maintain per caput food and feed consumption levels, which, however, are forecast marginally lower. After having increased significantly in the past two years, cereal stocks of the group of LIFDCs (excluding China and India) at the end of the 2007/08 marketing seasons are forecast at about 50 million tonnes, which is some 13 percent lower than their opening levels.


1.† The Low-Income Food-Deficit (LIFDC) group of countries includes food deficit countries with per caput annual income below the level used by the World Bank to determine eligibility for IDA assistance (i.e. US$1†575 in 2004), which is in accordance with the guidelines and criteria agreed to by the CFA should be given priority in the allocation of food aid.

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GIEWS ††global information and early warning system on food and agriculture