The outlook for global cereal supply in the 2013/14 marketing season remains generally favourable despite downward adjustments to forecasts for world cereal production and closing stocks.
Export prices of maize dropped further in September mainly reflecting the positive outlook for the 2013 global output. Wheat prices remained relatively stable, while those of rice declined from most origins.
Aggregate cereal imports of LIFDCs during 2013/14 are estimated to increase by some 6 percent over the reduced imports of the year before.
In Western Africa, prospects for the 2013 cereal crops are favourable in the Sahel but uncertain in coastal countries following irregular precipitation in several regions. Despite an improved food supply situation this year in the Sahel, a large number of people are still affected by conflict and the lingering effects of 2011/12 food crisis, notably in northern Mali.
In Eastern Africa, the overall food security situation is improving as the harvest has started in several countries and food prices are generally stable or declining. Although 35 percent fewer than last year, approximately 8.7 million people are still in need of humanitarian assistance.
In Central Africa, the food security situation continues to deteriorate in the Central African Republic (CAR) and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) due to protracted civil insecurity. Nearly 6.35 million people in DRC (18 percent up on last year) and 1.3 million people in CAR (more than double from February 2013) are in need of humanitarian assistance.
In North Africa, a good aggregate cereal harvest was gathered in 2013. Estimates of wheat production in Algeria, Morocco and Egypt are the highest on record, while reduced plantings following poor rains caused a sharp reduction in Tunisia.
In Southern Africa, drought conditions in western parts resulted in a decline in cereal production and in higher prices in 2013, causing a rise in the number of food insecure, particularly in Namibia.
In the Syrian Arab Republic, the persisting conflict continues to severely impact on food security conditions, with about 4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. The conflict together with food price increases and the approaching winter lean season period is expected to further aggravate the poor food situation.
In Far East Asia, the aggregate 2013 cereal production is estimated at a record level, with virtually all countries expecting larger harvests.
Cereal production in CIS countries has significantly recovered from last year’s drought reduced levels, boosting export supplies and inventories.
In Central America and the Caribbean, forecasts for the 2013 main season maize production points to a recovery from last year’s low levels. However, localized crop losses have been reported in Guatemala and Honduras, due to prolonged dry spells.
In South America, prospects for the 2013 wheat crop have deteriorated following severe frost damage, particularly in Paraguay and Brazil. However, the subregion’s wheat production is still forecast at a higher level than the poor harvest of 2012.