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Reference Date: 17-December-2014

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Early prospects for 2015 winter crops overall favourable

  2. Record cereal production in 2014

  3. Cereal exports expected at record levels in 2014/15 marketing year (July/June)

  4. Domestic cereal prices at high levels by mid-December

  5. Serious food security concerns in eastern part of Ukraine

Early prospects for 2015 winter crops overall favourable

The area planted under 2015 winter crops (wheat, rye and barley) is estimated at about 7.6 million hectares, higher than last year, mainly on account of a 7 percent increase in wheat plantings. Most crops were at the emerging state by mid-December and 82 percent were reportedly in good or satisfactory conditions, despite early concerns about cold weather affecting crop establishment.

Record cereal production in 2014

Harvesting of the 2014 cereal crops (mainly wheat, maize and barley) was recently completed. FAO’s latest estimate puts the 2014 wheat production at 24.7 million tonnes, 12 percent up from last year’s above-average level. The good output mainly reflects near-record yields, following favourable weather conditions during the cropping season, which more than offset a slight contraction in planted area. Similarly, the 2014 barley output is estimated 24 percent higher than last year at 9.4 million tonnes. By contrast, maize output is put at 27 million tonnes, some 12 percent below the record level in 2013, but still above average, as yields were estimated to have returned to normal from last year’s high levels. Overall, the aggregate cereal output in 2014 stands at a record of 63.2 million tonnes, almost 28 percent above the previous five-year average.

Near record cereal exports in 2014/15 marketing year (July/June)

Cereal exports in the 2014/15 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 31.5 million tonnes, close to last year’s record level. Wheat and barley exports are forecast to increase by 8 percent to 10.3 million tonnes and 42 percent to 3.5 million tonnes, respectively, while maize exports are projected at 17.5 million tonnes, a decrease of 2 million tonnes, compared to the record level of 2013/14 due to the lower production this year.

Wheat and wheat flour prices increasing and at high levels by mid-December

Wholesale prices of wheat and wheat flour increased markedly in the first two weeks of December and were at record levels in nominal terms, after sustained increases in the past months. Despite ample supplies from the record 2014 harvest, prices were supported by the depreciation of the national currency which dropped by some 20 percent since early November, after depreciating by 16 percent in August. The depreciation also supported export prices of wheat and maize which increased by 6 percent and 7 percent, respectively (in USD terms) since early November.

Serious food security concerns in eastern part of Ukraine

The civil conflict, which began in spring 2014 in the eastern part of the Ukraine, has severely affected the overall food security situation in this area. According to official reports, food reserves of these areas are fully depleted and infrastructure is partly destroyed. Furthermore, record prices of wheat products, as well as destroyed transportation routes and city markets leads to an increasingly difficult food security situation. In response, an Emergency Operation (EMOP) was approved jointly by WFP and FAO on 10 November 2014 to provide food assistance, about 878 tonnes of food and cash transfers totalling USD 1.76 million to an estimated 120 000 IDPs, returnees and vulnerable residents affected by conflict in eastern Ukraine for a period of six months, starting November 2014 to April 2015.











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