|No.4 November 2009|
|Crop Prospects and Food Situation|
FAO's latest forecast confirms a good 2009 world cereal production, slightly below last year's record level, which coupled with large carryover stocks from the previous season have resulted in ample market supplies.
In the group of 77 Low-Income Food-Deficit countries the 2009 aggregate cereal production is forecast marginally below last year's record level. A sharp reduction in India's rice crop is anticipated but generally good crops are estimated elsewhere.
International prices of wheat and maize, which had returned to normal levels by September, strengthened in October. Rice export prices continued to decline from the 2008 peak but remain well above pre-crisis levels.
In LIFDCs food prices remain, in general, significantly higher than in the pre-food price crisis period of two years earlier, which continues to give rise to concern for the food security of vulnerable populations.
The ongoing weak to moderate El Niņo will likely continue through the end of the year and into early 2010. The situation needs to be closely monitored particularly in regions prone to be affected by the event such as Latin America and Southern Africa.
Hurricane Ida in early November resulted in heavy rains, floods and landslides in Central America previously affected by El Niņo related drought. Loss of life, population displacement and damage to infrastructure and agriculture are reported in El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Despite a satisfactory global cereal supply situation, 31 countries around the world require external assistance because of critical food insecurity. Of particular concern is the Eastern Africa subregion where more than 20 million people are estimated to be in need of emergency food assistance due to poor rainfall in parts, coupled with escalating conflicts and displacements, particularly in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
|GIEWS||global information and early warning system on food and agriculture|