No.3  May 2007  
   Crop Prospects and Food Situation

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Food Emergencies Update

Global cereal supply and demand brief

FAO’s global cereal supply and demand Indicators point to another tight season

Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries food situation overview

Regional reviews

Statistical appendix


Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries1/ food situation overview

Prospects for the 2007 cereal crops deteriorate in North and Southern Africa

FAO’s early forecast for the 2007 cereal production of the LIFDCs as a group points to a crop of about 883 million tonnes, marginally above the good level of 2006. However, when excluding China and India, accounting for some two-thirds of the LIFDCs’ aggregate cereal output, production of the remaining countries is seen to decline slightly, following two consecutive years of substantial increases, but would remain above average.

Table 6. Cereal Production1 of LIFDCs ( million tonnes)

  2005 2006 2007 Change: 2007
over 2006 (%)
Africa (44 countries) 113.5 128.0 120.4 -5.9
North Africa25.429.525.1-15.0
Eastern Africa30.634.733.2-4.2
Southern Africa8.711.510.9-5.5
Western Africa45.448.747.8-1.9
Central Africa3.33.63.4-4.2
Asia (25 countries) 733.9 742.2 751.5 1.2
CIS in Asia14.112.913.43.4
Far East705.7715.8724.01.1
- China372.7384.1383.4-0.2
- India193.8192.5199.23.5
Near East14.113.514.14.6
America (3 countries)
1.7 1.6 1.6 0.7
America (1 country)
1.7 1.6 1.6 -0.5
Oceania (6 countries) 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Europe (3 countries) 7.6 7.4 7.7 4.6
Total (82 countries) 858.4 880.9 882.9 0.2
1 Includes rice in milled terms.
Note: Totals computed from unrounded data.

In Southern Africa, where the harvest of the 2007 main season coarse grains crops is well advanced, prolonged dry spells in parts, coupled with floods in others, have lowered outputs in all countries, except in Angola and Malawi, where a bumper crop is being gathered and an ample exportable maize surplus is anticipated. Sharp output reductions are expected in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland, affected by severe dry weather, while in other countries the cereal output will still remain at normal or above-normal levels. In North Africa, rains in April arrived too late to benefit the winter wheat crop in Morocco, adversely affected by below-normal precipitation since the beginning of the season; the output is anticipate to decline by 50 percent from last year’s good level. In Egypt, the irrigated wheat crop is forecast to decrease but to remain at an average level. In Asia, prospects for winter crops, to be harvested from July, are overall favourable in CIS countries and in the Near East, where an increase in production is anticipated following good weather since the beginning of the season. In particular, in Afghanistan, despite localized losses due to flash floods, cereal output is anticipated to recover from last year’s drought-affected level. In the Far East, prospects for the 2007 wheat crops, about to be harvested, remain overall favourable. The subregion’s aggregate output of LIFDCs is forecast slightly above last year’s good level with larger crops in India, Pakistan and Nepal, more than offsetting lower outputs in China and Bangladesh.

Elsewhere in the group of LIFDCs, planting of the 2007/08 main season cereal crops is underway or about to start in Eastern, Western and Central Africa, as well as in Central America. For countries of Africa, FAO’s early and tentative production forecast assumes a return to average growing conditions and a drop of cereal yields from last year’s record levels.

Improvement in 2006/07 food aid allocations

The aggregate cereal import requirements of the 82 LIFDC’s in marketing years 2006/07 or 2007 (calendar basis) are estimated by FAO at 89 million tonnes, some 1.5 million tonnes above the previous year’s actual imports. This reflects an increase of about 6 million tonnes of wheat imports in India, which more than offset lower volumes in most of the other LIFDCs, notably in North, Eastern, Southern and Western Africa, where record or bumper crops were gathered in 2006. As a result of this good performance, the LIFDCs’ total food aid requirements in marketing years 2006/07 declined by one-third from the previous season’s level, to some 4.5 million tonnes or about 5 percent of their total cereal import requirements. Based on information received in GIEWS by mid-April, 68 percent of the food aid requirements have been covered by donors’ deliveries of pledges. In Southern Africa, where countries have just entered their new marketing year, about 80 percent of the food aid needs were covered, while total imports reached 93 percent of FAO’s initial forecast level. In countries of North Africa and in the four countries of Latin America, food aid deliveries/pledges have more than covered the requirements in 2006/07. Good progress has also been made in countries of CIS Asia, where the new marketing year will start next July, as well in Western and Eastern Africa where the seasons only started in November last year and in January 2007, respectively.

Table 7. Cereal import position of LIFDCs ( thousand tonnes)

  2005/06 or
2006/07 or 2007
Requirements 1 Import position 2
of which
food aid
of which
food aid
Africa (44 countries) 39 361 35 376 2 440 16 003 1 584
North Africa16 35315 238 129 775 12
Eastern Africa5 7404 743 1 4652 017 874
Southern Africa4 2683 045 4152 835 323
Western Africa11 33810 783 4711 324 334
Central Africa1 6621 567 77 52 40
Asia (25 countries) 43 315 49 000 1 834 30 892 1 194
CIS in Asia2 8712 777 1772 356 156
Far East28 585 35 928 1 42623 683 878
Near East11 85910 295 2314 853 160
America (3 countries)
1 757 1 705 184 1 243 270
America (1 country)
1 011 946 30 695 30
Oceania (6 countries) 416 416 0 53 0
Europe (3 countries) 1 619 1 550 60 705 0
Total (82 countries) 87 478 88 992 4 548 49 592 3 079
1 The import requirement is the difference between utilization (food, feed, other uses, exports plus closing stocks) and domestic availability (production plus opening stocks). Utilization is based on historical values, adjusted upon assessment of the country’s current economic situation.
2 Estimates based on information available as of mid-April 2007.
Note: Totals computed from unrounded data.

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$1 465 in 2003), 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