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Cereal production up from last year, but will not meet demand


FAO's June Food Outlook report signals a one percent increase in cereal output in 2000, compared to the previous year. However, according to current forecasts, total cereal production will not be enough to cover utilization requirements in 2000/2001 and global cereal reserves will have to be drawn down. If current forecasts materialize, global stocks could fall slightly below minimum safe levels.

"To avoid any further deterioration of the cereal supply and demand balance in 2001/02, a more significant increase in cereal production would be necessary in 2001," the report warns.

FAO's latest forecast puts global cereal output in 2000 at 1 896 million tonnes. Output of wheat is forecast at 590 million tonnes, up slightly from the previous year. Coarse grains are forecast at 908 million tonnes, up more than 3 percent. The global rice crop is tentatively forecast at 398 million tonnes (milled rice) in 2000, 1 percent less than the record crop last year.

FAO's first forecast of world cereal trade in 2001/01 is 221 million tonnes, about 4 million tonnes below the estimated import volume in 1999/2000. Global imports of wheat and coarse grains are forecast to be smaller, while rice trade in 2001 is tentatively expected to remain unchanged from last year.

The number of countries facing food emergencies has risen since the last report in April. At the end of May, 36 developing countries were listed as facing serious food shortages, primarily because of drought, but also because of civil strife and floods, particularly in Africa.

Food Outlook is published every two months by FAO's Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS).

14 June 2000

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