Cereal production recovery on track, but global food security remains delicate

Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS):

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A recovery in world cereal output in 1996 appears to be on track, although the outlook for global food security will remain delicate for at least another year, according to FAO's Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS).

In the latest Food Outlook issued by GIEWS, 1996 global cereal production is put at 1 821 million tonnes (including milled rice). This figure -- up 5.2 percent from 1995's sharply reduced level -- will allow a modest replenishment of reduced global cereal stocks, but not enough to raise cereal reserves from well below minimum safe levels by the end of the1996/97 season.

The food security of many low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs) will continue to be precarious, especially with food aid availabilities in cereals anticipated to be low in 1996/97. Particularly serious food supply difficulties have been identified in strife-torn Burundi and Liberia and in food-deficit areas in Somalia and the Sudan.

Elsewhere, in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea devastating floods for the second consecutive year have heightened food supply difficulties and put pressure on the government's rationing system. And in Sri Lanka, drought has significantly reduced rice production, resulting in price increases and supply problems.

Globally, 25 countries will need emergency food assistance in the months ahead due to man-made and natural disasters, estimates GIEWS.

20 September 1996


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