Figures indicate recovery in grain production, but global food security will remain precarious


Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS):

Desert Locust Information Service


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The latest indications for 1996 cereal crops continue to suggest that world production will rebound after the sharply reduced harvest last year but will not be enough to restore global stocks to safe levels. In its most recent Food Outlook, issued on 21 June, FAO's Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) forecasts that world cereal output will total 1,828 million tons this year, up 6.5 percent from 1995.

If these FAO forecasts for 1996 materialize, aggregate world cereal production would be enough to meet expected needs and stocks could even be replenished slightly. The predicted recovery would not be enough to compensate fully for the sharp reduction in the current year, however. Cereal reserves would remain below minimum safe levels through 1996-97, leaving global food security precarious for at least another year.

Prospects appear particularly difficult for many Low-Income Food-Deficit countries, particularly in Africa, where food supplies have already been jeopardized by a significant drop in production, shrinking availability of food aid and sharply higher costs for grain imports. In spite of some good harvests, a special feature on the food supply situation in sub-Saharan Africa reports that some 22 million people in the region currently face food emergencies. Several African countries will continue to need emergency food assistance throughout 1996, including several that have suffered from continuing civil strife, among them Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burundi and Rwanda.

25 June 1996

Related Items:

  • For a deeper understanding of food security issues, please see the World Food Summit Web pages


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