CL 120/2


Hundred and Twentieth Session

Rome, 18-23 June 2001


Table of Contents


1. This document highlights recent major developments in global food security, production, utilization, trade and food aid. An attempt was made to integrate a broad range of information into this short document in line with the suggestions of the 116th Council session1. For more detailed information and analysis, however, delegates are invited to refer to various recent FAO documents and web pages, in particular document CFS 2001/2 prepared for the 27th session of the Committee on World Food Security and CCP 01/7 for the 63rd session of the Committee on Commodity Problems. Latest versions of "Food Outlook" and "Food Crops and Shortages" reports offer updated information. It is also noted that more comprehensive information and analysis on world food and agriculture will be available in "The State of Food and Agriculture 2001" to be released soon.


2. Despite continuous growth of the world economy and considerable food availability in major exporters, the food security situation of the developing world as a whole has shown little progress in recent years with remarkable diversity, however, between regions and countries. The latest estimates suggest that 792 million people in developing countries remained undernourished in 1996-98 - implying virtually no change from the estimates made one year earlier. The declining trend in the prevalence of undernourishment was also almost halted at 18 percent. Improvements in East Asia were offset by aggravations in other sub-regions, especially Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. Projections indicate that with a continuation of current trends the WFS target is not likely to be achieved by 2015. This suggests the need for reconsideration of strategies and strengthened, targeted and specific efforts to achieve the WFS goals.

3. Several countries continue to face food shortages. As of April 2001, some 60 million people in 36 countries were confronting food shortages of varying intensity while current indications do not point to any substantial increase in food aid shipments from the previous season when total cereal food aid shipments to the developing world fell by by 1.3 million tonnes to around 7.5 million tonnes.

4. Total world food production increased at higher rates during the 1996-2000 period than the previous five years. For the developing world, however, the reverse was true with 3.5 percent average annual growth as compared 4.2 precent in the previous five-year period.

5. World cereal output in 2000 is estimated to have declined by almost 2 percent relative to 1999, mostly due to a 10 percent reduction in China. An increase of nearly 2 percent is forecast in 2001 reflecting higher coarse grain outputs in China and some countries in Europe. World cereal utilization in 2000/01 is expected to outpace the overall cereal production for the second consecutive year, leading to a 7 percent decline in world stocks. Nevertheless, because of sufficient carry-over stocks held by major cereal exporters, international cereal prices remained generally depressed. World cereal trade in 2000/01 is forecast to contract slightly from the record reached in 1999/2000.

6. Both world production and trade in oils and fats is estimated to have grown at a slower rate in 2000. Their international prices would remain depressed due to higher carry-over stocks in major exporters. The global meat economy saw a slow-down in 2000. Food safety concerns trigered by the spreading of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) as well as foot mouth disease (FMD) led to considerable disruptions in output, consumption and trade in many countries, notably in Europe.

7. World fish production in 1999 increased. Aquaculture production is continuing the upward trend of the past years. Capture fisheries production, on the other hand, although increasing by 7 percent in 1999, still remains below the record levels of 1996 and 1997.



8. The decline in the undernourished population has slowed in the 1990s and has almost come to a halt according to the latest estimates for 1996-98. Over the period from 1979-81 to 1996-98 the prevalence of undernourishment in the developing world fell from 29 percent to 18 percent. The performance, however, varies significantly between regions and countries. Large reductions were achieved in most of Asia, Western Africa and South America but these were partly offset by increases in the remaining part of Sub-Saharan Africa, the Near East and the Caribbean.

9. The latest estimates suggest that the number of undernourished in the developing world remained virtually unchanged from the previous year at 792 million in 1996-98. With a total of 515 million undernourished in 1996-98, Asia and the Pacific still accounts for more than two thirds of the developing world total. However, the prevalence of hunger is more serious in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 34 percent of the total population remains undernourished. The percentage is particularly high in Central Africa (at 50 percent), East Africa and Southern Africa (both at 42 percent). No clear declining trends can be identified in these sub-regions due to the frequent natural disasters, economic problems and civil strife. By contrast, Asia and the Pacific shows a steady decline in the prevalence of undernourishment, which had declined from 32 percent in 1979-81 to 17 percent in 1996-98.

Undisplayed Graphic

10. The recent virtual stagnation of the number of the undernourished suggests that achieving the WFS goals will require strengthened, more targeted, specific strategies and efforts. China alone reduced the undernourished population by more than 20 million per year - the WFS annual reduction target for the whole world. But this reduction was offset by the increases in other regions, notably South Asia, the Near East and Sub-Saharan Africa.

11. Although there has been little recent change in the number of undernourished people in developing countries, long-term projections indicate an improving course with the number of undernourished people expected to fall to around 580 million by 2015. If current trends continue, the World Food Summit target of a reduction by half, to 400 million, is not expected to be reached until 2030. At the regional level, South and East Asia appear to be on track to approach the target by 2015, reflecting in particular declining undernourishment in China and India. Sub-Saharan Africa and the Near East would be far off the target, while the results from Latin America would fall in an intermediate category.


12. As of early 2001, 60 million people in 36 countries were facing food emergencies. About 46 percent of these people and 21 of these countries were located in Sub-Saharan Africa, where natural disasters and civil strife caused exceptional food emergencies. Although weather conditions have improved, 18 million people in Eastern Africa continue to be in need of international assistance after severe drought conditions caused widespread crop failure. The situation is most severe in Kenya, Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia. Civil strife, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Sierra Leone and Guinea has led to a large number of people needing food and other humanitarian assistance. Serious flooding in Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe has recently caused loss of life and damage to infrastructure and food crops, leaving about 900,000 people in urgent need of assistance.

13. Several countries in South and East Asia are facing a very difficult food supply situation. In Mongolia, a second consecutive extremely cold winter has killed millions of livestock and seriously aggravated the food insecurity of nomadic herders. The food supply situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea remains tight due to economic problems. In some countries of the Near East and North Africa a second year of drought has left millions of people in need of assistance. In Afghanistan, civil strife and successive droughts have led to a severe food crisis leaving more than 3 million people in urgent need of food aid. In Central America, El Salvador's food supply in 2001 will be negatively affected by the earthquakes which hit the country earlier in the year.


14. FAO uses a number of indicators to assess food security. As these can be found in document CFS 2001/2 (Assessment of the World Food Security Situation) recently produced for CFS, the main ones are only briefly summarized here. Firstly, the ratio of grain supply (production, imports and opening stocks) to disappearance (the sum of their domestic utilisation of grains and exports) of the five major grain exporters is estimated at 1.18 for 2000/01. This is slightly down from the previous year, but higher than the average of 1.15 for the period 1993/94-1997/98.

15. Secondly, the stock/disappearance ratio of three major cereals (wheat, coarse grains and rice) are projected to decline by 2 percentage points to 33 percent in 2000/01 but remain somewhat higher than the average for the 1993/94-1997/98 period.

16. Thirdly, total cereal production of the major cereal importing countries of China, India and the CIS shows a forecast 5 percent drop in 2000/01 relative to the preceding year. This is due mainly to the downturn in production in China in 2000, following a string of bumper crops. The cereal output performance of CIS countries was mixed, but the Russian Federation significantly boosted grain output in 2000 after two poor crop years. India saw another bumper crop, especially for wheat.

17. Fourthly, with the exception of wheat, international cereal prices continued their downward trend during the 2000/2001 season. Wheat prices, however, rose at the beginning of the season owing to stronger import demand and expected lower carry-over stocks in the major exporters. However, the increase proved limited because of large export supplies from non-traditional sources, and some importing countries such as China, relying on stock drawdowns rather than increased imports.

18. It is widely acknowledged that there is a strong link between poverty and food insecurity. The objectives of the World Food Summit (WFS) and the UN Millennium Summit of reducing both undernourishment and poverty are highly interconnected and interdependent.

19. Table 1 compares results of FAO's estimates of the number of undernourished with those contained in a recent World Bank study 2 on consumption poverty, i.e., percent of people livling in households that consume less than $1 per day at purchasing power parity. During the period from 1987 to 1998, the incidence of poverty fell in Asia and the Middle East - North Africa. This coincides with the higher performance of these regions with regard to reducing the prevalence of undernourishment. The Bank study also reported that, overall there was a net decrease in the incidence of consumption poverty but this was not sufficient to reduce the total number of poor. The report attributed this to a combination of low economic growth in many developing countries combined with persistent inequalities inhibiting the poor from participating in the growth that did occur.

Table 1: A Comparison of Poverty and Undernourishment Data

  1998 1996-98 1996-98 1998
Region People Living in households that consume less
than $1/day
Share Undernourished Number of Undernourished Number of poor
  (percent) (percent) (million) (million)
East Asia 15.32 12 155.0 278.32
Eastern Europe and Central Asia 5.14 6 26.4 23.98
Latin America and the Caribbean 15.57 11 54.9 78.16
Middle East and North Africa 1.95 10 35.9 5.55
South Asia 39.99 23 294.2 522.00
Sub-Saharan Africa 46.30 34 185.9 290.87


20. Total cereal aid shipments in 1999/00 amounted to 10.2 million tonnes, 800 000 tonnes less than in the previous year. This moderate reduction, however, conceals the magnitude of the reduction in food aid to developing countries, which fell by 1.3 million tonnes, or 14 percent, to 7.7 million tonnes. The decline was mostly attributable to Asia, while shipments to Africa rose slightly. Shipments to the leading recipients in Asia; namely Bangladesh, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Indonesia, registered a drop of about 1.4 million tonnes. By contrast, in Africa shipments to Ethiopia doubled from 1998/99 to reach 1.2 million tonnes.

21. Estimates for total cereal shipments as food aid in 2000/01 suggest very little change from the previous season Shipments to the Russian Federation are expected to fall sharply due to larger production in 2000, but larger shipments are anticipated to southern countries of the CIS as well as several countries in Africa and Asia.



22. World food production (crop and livestock) in 1999 is estimated to have increased by 2.4 percent. The performance of the developing countries as a group continued to be less encouraging. Their food production increased by 3.0 percent, below the 3.2 percent achieved in the previous two years and the between 4 and 5 percent recorded from 1992 to 1996.

23. Estimates of food production in 2000 are still provisional, but point to a modest expansion of around 1.3 percent. Crop production is estimated to increase by under 1 percent. The slowdown is due to reduced growth in both developed and developing countries, with the latter continuing slower growth for the last four years.

Undisplayed Graphic
Source: FAOSTAT.

24. Among the developing country regions the strongest performance in 1999 was recorded in Latin America and the Caribbean, where food output grew by 4.9 percent. For 2000 the preliminary estimates suggest output growth in the region of about 2 percent only.

25. In developing East Asia and the Pacific, food output performance also improved somewhat in 1999, with a rate of expansion of 3.6 percent. The rate of food production growth in the region has nevertheless declined in the past few years and output growth for 2000 is estimated to be only 1 to 2 percent. The main factor behind the declining trend is the slowdown in production growth in China from an annual average of around 7 percent from 1992 to 1997 to around 3 percent in the last two years.

26. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 1999 was another disappointing year with food production growth by 2.4 percent which lagged population growth rates for the third consecutive year. The estimates for 2000 suggest no improvement in the sluggish performance with only half a percentage point increase. Past and ongoing civil conflict and war as well as drought and HIV negatively affect agricultural activity in many countries.

Table 2. Annual Changes in World and Regional Food Production (Crop and Livestock)

1996 1997 1998 1999 1996-99
World 1.8 4.2 2.5 1.8 2.4 2.7 1.3
Developed Countries -1.3 3.7 1.4 -0.4 1.4 1.5 0.7
North America 1.8 4.9 3.2 2.3 1.5 2.9 2.2
Oceania 3.4 8.1 1.2 4.1 0.5 3.5 1.8
Western Europe -0.5 4.8 -0.2 0.2 2.1 1.7 -0.3
Transition Countries -6.5 -0.9 1.4 -6.1 0.3 -1.3 -0.8
Developing Countries 4.2 4.5 3.2 3.2 3.0 3.5 1.6
Sub-Saharan Africa 2.7 6.5 0.3 2.2 2.4 2.9 0.5
Far East and Oceania 4.8 4.5 4.2 2.8 3.6 3.8 1.8
Latin America and the Caribbean 3.5 1.6 4.3 1.5 4.9 3.1 2.0
Near East and North Africa 1.8 10.1 -3.3 9.4 -4.2 3.0 0.3

Source: FAOSTAT.
* Provisional.

27. In the Near East and North Africa region, food output fell by 4.2 percent in 1999. Drought was the dominant factor affecting food output in the region. In 2000, drought conditions continued to adversely affect production in many countries though some recovery is expected. The estimates suggest an increase in the region of less than 0.5 percent in 2000.

28. The transition countries saw virtually unchanged food production in 1999. The Russian Federation experienced a fall in food output of 2.6 percent and many of the other larger food producers in the region witnessed some minor declines in agricultural output. The estimates for 2000 suggest a small contraction of food production of less than 1 percent. Food output in the Russian Federation is expected to rise in part due to increase of about 20 percent in cereal production.


29. The estimates of food production in 1999 and the provisional estimates for 2000 can be usefully seen in the context of the medium-term trends for the period 1996-1999. Oustanding features are:



30. World cereal output in 2000 fell to 1854 million tonnes (including rice in milled equivalent), which is nearly 2 percent below the previous year's level and also below the average for the past five years. A number of factors contributed to the contraction in cereal output in 2000, ranging from natural disasters and low prices prevailing in recent years to government policies aimed at cutting excess supply. But the single largest factor was a sharp drop in output in China after years of bumper crops.

Table 3. World Cereal Production, Supplies, Trade and Stocks

  1998/99 1999/2000
  (...........................million tonnes..........................)
Production 1/ 1 901 1 887 1 854
Wheat 598 591 585
Coarse grains 912 887 870
Rice (milled) 390 408 399
Supply 2/ 2 575 2 587 2 548
Utilization 1 872 1 901 1 907
Trade 3/ 216 235 233
Ending Stocks 4/ 700 693 645

Source: FAO.
1/ Data refer to calendar year of the first year shown. Rice in milled equivalent.
2/ Production plus opening stocks.
3/ July/June basis for wheat and coarse grains and calendar year (second year shown) for rice.
4/ May not equal the difference between supply and utilization due to differences in individual country marketing years.

Table 4. World Cereal Production Estimate for 2000 and Forecast for 2001

  Wheat Coarse grains Rice (paddy) Total
  2000 2001 2000 2001 2000 2001 2000 2001

(.................................... million tonnes .............................)

Asia 251.9 242.3 193.0 211.5 543.2   988.1  
Africa 14.2 15.9 78.7 76.3 17.2   110.1  
Central America 3.4 3.2 28.7 28.2 2.4   34.4  
South America 20.3 20.9 62.0 67.0 20.7   103.1  
North America 87.3 86.9 299.2 301.6 8.7   395.2  
Europe 186.4 192.0 198.1 210.9 3.1   387.7  
Oceania 21.4 23.6 10.7 9.6 1.1   33.2  
WORLD 585.0 584.8 870.4 905.1 596.4 596.7 2 051.8 2 086.6
Developing countries 270.2 262.3 346.8 371.1 571.1 571.1 1 188.1 1 204.5
Developed countries 314.8 322.5 523.5 534.0 25.3 25.6 863.6 882.2

Source: FAO.
1/ Milled rice.
2/ Including milled rice.

31. Global wheat production fell slightly in 2000 to 585 million tonnes. This was mostly because of unfavourable weather in parts of Europe and North Africa as well as in several countries in Asia, including China, where policy changes also played an important role in reducing plantings.

32. World output of coarse grains in 2000 registered a drop of 2 percent to 870 million tonnes. The decline mostly resulted from weather-damaged crops in parts of Asia and Europe. A drought-plagued season sharply reduced China's maize output, which fell by 24 million tonnes from the previous year. Drought conditions throughout most of eastern European countries particularly affected maize and barley crops in 2000.

33. Global rice output fell to 399 million tonnes (in milled equivalent), down by over 2 percent compared with 1999. Despite this sharp decline, rice production in 2000 was still the second highest on record. The contraction was primarily farmers' response to the weak rice prices that had prevailed since 1999. In China, government policies to cut surpluses contributed to the contraction.

34. Early indications for the 2001 wheat crop in the Northern Hemisphere suggest that output could at best remain close to the reduced level of 2000. In Asia, smaller wheat crops are expected in China, India and Pakistan. In Europe, wheat output is expected to be down in the EC, while elsewhere in Europe some recovery could be expected after the drought-reduced output of 2000. In North Africa, conditions for the winter wheat crops are generally favourable and output is expected to recover somewhat.

35. For 2001 coarse grains, crops have already been planted in major Southern Hemisphere producing countries. Southern Africa's output could decline as result of a reduction in area whereas in South America, growing conditions have been generally favourable.

36. World cereal utilization in 2000/01 was expected to outpace global production for the second consecutive year. Total cereal utilization was forecast to reach 1 907 million tonnes, up 0.3 percent from the previous season, although use for direct human consumption was expected to rise by around 1 percent. The most significant increases were anticipated for developing countries in Asia. The animal feed utilization of cereals in 2000/01, on the other hand, was forecast to expand slightly, by about 0.6 percent.

37. Estimates of the cereal carryover stocks in China (excluding Taiwan Province and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) have recently undergone an upward revision. The result has been a substantial increase in the estimates of China's inventories which, in turn, have led to noticeably higher figures than reported earlier for global stocks. This one-time adjustment made to the historical series of cereal stocks in China should not be perceived as either a reflection of, or cause for, changes in the market fundamentals.

38. World cereal stocks by the close of the seasons ending in 2001 were forecast to approach 645 million tonnes, down by 7 percent from their opening levels, and the lowest in four years. The biggest declines were likely to occur in countries where production was forecast to fall the most, namely China and the United States. Total ending cereal stocks in major exporting countries, however, remained relatively high at 240 million tonnes, 8 million tonnes below their opening levels.

39. World stocks of wheat for crop years ending in 2001 were 243 million tonnes, down 5 percent from the previous year. Lower carryovers were expected for the five major exporters in aggregate, in particular in the United States. Total coarse grain inventories for the same crop year were reported to be down by 10 percent from a year earlier, mainly as a result of an expected sharp fall in China following a drastic decrease in its maize production in 2000. Total stocks in major exporting countries were likely to rise by nearly 2 percent to around 79 million tonnes.

40. Global rice inventories at the end of the seasons in 2001 were forecast at 153 million tonnes, approximately 5 percent below their opening level. Most of the reduction was expected to be concentrated in China, following a sizeable cut in production in 2000.

41. World cereal trade in 2000/01 was forecast to reach 233 million tonnes, slightly down from the previous year's record volume.

Table 5. World Cereal Imports - Forecast for 2000/01

  1999/2000 2000/01
  ( ........................ million tonnes .........................)
Asia 121.1 115.4
Africa 42.6 44.9
Central America 20.4 20.8
South America 20.8 20.6
North America 6.7 7.3
Europe 22.7 23.1
Oceania 1.0 0.9
WORLD 235.4 233.1
Developing Countries 170.1 166.9
Developed Countries 65.3 66.1

Source: FAO.

42. World coarse grains in 2000/01 (July/June) could remain unchanged from the previous season, at around104 million tonnes. World rice trade in 2001 was expected to decline very marginally from 22.5 to 22.3 million tonnes. International trade in wheat and wheat flour (in grain equivalent) in 2000/01 was also forecast to decline to 107 million tonnes, a fall of 2 percent.

43. Total cereal imports by the developing countries in 2000/01 were expected to reach 167 million tonnes, which would be 2 percent below the record volume reached in 1999/00.


44. Global production of roots and tubers is estimated to increase by about 1.6 percent in 2000. This is a much reduced growth rate when compared to the 2.4 percent achieved in the previous year.

45. Global production of cassava is estimated to rise by about 2 percent in 2000. This reflects increases in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. In Africa, production is estimated to reach 93 million tonnes, a 1 percent rise over 1999, reflecting mainly increases in Nigeria, Angola and Malawi. The sector experienced a much stronger increase of 6 percent in Brazil, Latin America's largest producer. By contrast, output in Asia stagnated, with Thailand and Indonesia, the two major producers in the region, reporting unchanged production levels.


46. Global production of the seven major oilseeds in 1999/00 increased by about 1.1 percent to 303 million tonnes. For the 2000/01 season, an increase of just under 1 percent is estimated, making this the smallest percentage increase in recent years. The rise in production is nearly entirely due to increased soybean output especially in the United States, Brazil and Argentina. The largest decreases in output, of around 10 percent, are expected for rapeseed and sunflowerseed.

47. World production of oils and fats in 2000/01 is estimated to increase further, continuing the upward trend observed in recent years, albeit at a slower rate. Total output is expected to rise by about 1 percent to 116 million tonnes with soybean oil accounting for most of the anticipated increase. World production of oilcakes and meals, expressed in protein equivalent, is estimated to rise by about 2 percent after stagnating in the previous season. Almost all of the increase will be due to soybean meal.

48. Global utilization of oils and fats is estimated to expand at a slower rate in 2000/01 as compared to previous seasons. Most of the anticipated increase in demand will be due to Asian countries, in particular China and India. Consumption of oilcakes and meals in 2000/01 is also expected to rise with slower growth continuing in recent years. Demand in Asian countries is likely to increase as economic conditions improve. A rise in consumption of oilmeals is anticipated in the EU due to the ban of the use of Meat and Bone Meal in compound feed.

49. World trade in oils and fats in 2000/01 is forecast to increase by about 1.3 percent. However the rate of growth will decline significantly from the previous seasons due to high stock levels and/or increased production in some major importing countries. Europe is expected to account for most of the expansion in trade, followed by Asia. India is most probably going to see another large increase, despite large hikes in import duties.

50. International prices of oils and fats in the 1999/2000 season were under downward pressure due mostly to ample supplies relative to demand. With the onset of the 2000/01 season prices remain depressed. Record opening stocks and the expectation of larger supplies suggest that chances for a sustained recovery in oils and fats prices are limited in 2000/01. The recovery in international prices for oilcakes and meals that started during 1999/2000 is likely to continue in 2000/01 due to increased demand which is expected to outweigh the estimated increased supply.


51. The global meat economy saw a slow-down in output growth in 2000. Food safety concerns emerged due to increased incidence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Europe, while market disruptions and trade diversions were witnessed in the second half of 2000 in response to other outbreaks of animal diseases, in particular, Foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease in Asia, South America and southern Africa and later in Europe as well as Rift Valley Fever in Eastern Africa and the Near East.

52. Global meat production increased by less than 2 percent in 2000, with developing countries further expanding their share of the total to 55 percent. Bovine meat production rose 1 percent in 2000 with most of the gains registered in developing countries, in particular those of Asia and South America. More than half the global production gains were realised in South America. Output growth in developed countries fell by 1 percent due to reduced slaughtering resulting from the uncertainty caused by the BSE crisis and the decade long decline in CIS countries continued. The Republic of Korea also saw cattle numbers and output decline due to an outbreak of FMD. Egypt and South Africa continued to record increased beef output while drought in the Horn of Africa has led to high livestock losses.

53. The disease-related market disruptions were largely responsible for keeping the volume of bovine meat trade unchanged. The absence of food aid programmes and the constrained use of export subsidies by the EC, in particular to the Russian Federation, also contributed to dampened trade growth. However imports by Japan, Mexico and the United States grew sharply.

54. The growth in meat supplies in 2001 is expected to remain modest at around 2 percent with output gains mostly due to estimated increases in pigmeat and poultry meat production. Animal disease outbreaks and global consumer food safety concerns play a considerable role in determining the outlook for 2001 with trade growth expected to be constrained by higher meat prices, due in part to disease-induced trade restrictions on EU meat exports.

55. Global milk output is estimated to rise by nearly 2 percent in 2000, with most countries experiencing an increase. Among the major milk producers output is estimated to expand in New Zealand, Australia, the United States and India. In the developing countries of Asia and Latin America growth in milk production is expected to continue. Output drops are anticipated in a number of eastern European countries due to dry conditions in the summer of 2000. In the two largest producing countries of the CIS, the Russian Federation and the Ukraine, a continued decline in output is projected for 2000.


56. World production of fish, shellfish and other aquatic animals increased from 117 million tonnes in 1998 to 125 million tonnes in 1999, the latest year for which complete information is available. Capture fisheries production amounted to 92.3 million tonnes; although this represents an increase of 7 percent compared with 1998, it is still 1.4 million tonnes below the record levels reached in 1996 and 1997. Aquaculture increased by 2 million tonnes to reach 32.9 million tonnes in 1999.

Table 6. World Fish Catch and Supply

World fish supply 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999

(................................million tonnes ...........................)

Marine capture 84.7 84.3 86.0 86.1 78.3 84.1
Marine aquaculture 8.7 10.5 10.9 11.2 12.1 13.1
Inland capture 6.7 7.2 7.4 7.5 8.0 8.2
Inland aquaculture 12.1 14.1 16.0 17.6 18.7 19.8
Total 112.2 116.1 120.3 122.4 117.1 125.2

Source: FAO.

57. The increase in landings from capture fisheries occurred as fish stocks in the Southeast Pacific recovered from the effects of the El Niņo atmospheric phenomenon, which affected those stocks in 1997/98. Landings of Peruvian anchovy and Chilean jack mackerel, which had decreased to a low of 3.7 million tonnes in 1998, amounted to 10.1 million tonnes in 1999.

58. China reported capture fisheries production of nearly 17 million tonnes in 1999. Other major fish producers were Peru (8.4 million tonnes), Japan (5.2 million tonnes) and Chile (5 million tonnes).

59. Aquaculture production from both inland and marine waters continued to increase in 1999. The Asian region (particularly China) continued to dominate world production.

60. In 1999, about 30.4 million tonnes of fish were used for reduction, 6.5 million tonnes more than in the preceding year. Availability of fish for human consumption remained at an estimated 15.8 kg per capita (liveweight equivalent).

Table 7. Per Caput Fish Supply for Food

Kg 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Per caput supply (kg) 14.3 15.3 15.8 16.1 15.8 15.8

Source: FAO.

61. Exports of fish products expanded to $52 200 million in 1999. Developed countries accounted for nearly 85 percent of the value of total imports of fishery products. Japan was again the biggest importer, accounting for some 25 percent of the global total. It is a substantial decline from the 30 percent share that this country used to have. Japanese imports declined in 1997 and 1998 due to the economic recession and have not fully recovered yet. The EC further increased its dependency on imports for its fish supply. Its share in total world imports expanded to 35 percent; however, about half of the EC's imports originate from intra-Community trade. The United States, besides being the world's fourth major exporting country, was the second biggest importer of fish and fishery products in 1999, accounting for 16 percent of the total.

62. Thailand and Norway are the world's major exporters of fish products in value terms. Together their exports accounted for 15 percent of total world exports. Developing countries continue to record an impressive trade surplus in fish products. Their net fish exports have now stabilised at between $16 billion and $17 billion per year, offering a significant source of foreign currency earnings.

63. Shrimp is the most important commodity accounting for about 20 percent of international trade values in 1999. This share remained stable over the past 20 years. Groundfish (i.e. demersal fish) and tuna followed at 11 percent and 9 percent respectively. The relative importance of fishmeal and of squid, cuttlefish and octopus has decreased over the past years to 3 and 4 percent of the value of world exports in 1999. At the same time, however, exports of fresh, frozen, smoked and canned salmon have been increasing, and represented 7 percent of the total in 1999.


64. The Council is invited to discuss the current world food situation as presented in the preceding paragraphs, the main points of which are summarized in section II.

65. Furthermore, the Council is invited to discuss the future reporting of the Secretariat to the Council on the current world food situation, Indeed, the Secretariat reports regularly to the Conference and Council and various Committees on different aspects of the Global Food Situation:

In addition, pertinent information is made available also through various publications, notably the annual publications The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) and The State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI), as well as periodical publications such as "Food Outlook" and "Food Crops and Shortages". These publications are now available through the FAO web site as well.

66. It would appear that there is a high degree of duplication between the biannual reporting to the Council on the Current World Food Situation and the annual reporting to the CFS on the World Food Situation, and the annual reporting to the Conference/Council on the State of Food and Agriculture. In the light of this, the Council may wish to consider and decide whether the biannual reporting to the Council on the Current World Food Situation should be discontinued.


1 The 116 th Council session "underlined the necessity for more thorough integration of information on demand and consumption trends in future Council documents"

2 Shaohua Chen and Martin Ravallion (2000), How did the world's poorest fare in the 1990s?, Development Research Group, World Bank. The World Bank study excluded almost half of the population of Middle East and North Africa and this explains the larger number of malnourished people than poor in the region.

3 This report is based on information available as of April 2001. Current information on the cereal market can be found in FAO's bi-monthly Food Outlook reports.