No.2  April 2007  
   Crop Prospects and Food Situation

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Food Emergencies Update

Global cereal production brief

Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries food situation overview

Regional reviews


Global cereal production brief

World cereal output to increase in 2007


FAO’s first forecast for world cereal production in 2007 stands at a record 2 082 million tonnes (including rice in milled terms), 4 percent up from 2006 and almost 10 million tonnes above the previous global high set in 2004. The bulk of the increase is expected in maize, pushing aggregate coarse grains production up by 5.6 percent to 1 033 million tonnes. The first of the major 2007 coarse grain crops are already being harvested or are just approaching harvest in several countries around the globe. In South America, harvesting of the main season crops is underway and a record harvest is expected following a significant increase in plantings in response to strong US demand for ethanol production, but also reflecting favourable growing conditions that resulted in good yields. In Southern Africa, however, where the harvest is just underway, prospects are less favourable and aggregate output is forecast to remain similar to last year‘s below-average crop. In the northern hemisphere, the bulk of the major 2007 coarse grains have yet to be sown in the coming weeks. In the United States, maize planting is off to a good start in southern parts, and the strong demand in the country, largely for ethanol production, is expected to fuel a sharp, 9 percent, increase in plantings.

The world wheat harvest is also expected to increase significantly in 2007, with FAO’s first forecast indicating a growth of 4.8 percent to about 626 million tonnes. In the northern hemisphere where many crops area already well developed, larger wheat outputs are forecast in North America and Europe. In the United States, the area sown expanded and winterkill is forecast low this year, pointing to a good harvest area. Also in Europe, overall plantings expanded and generally favourable winter conditions point to good yield prospects in many countries, although the most noteworthy recovery is expected in the European CIS after reduced output last year. In Asia, wheat output in 2007 is seen to remain close to last year’s level. A reduction in China’s production will likely be offset by an increase in India, where plantings increased sharply, largely in response to government policy to encourage foodgrain production. In North Africa, however, a smaller wheat crop is forecast, as weather conditions have been less favourable than last year when a bumper harvest was gathered. In the southern hemisphere, where most crops have still to be sown, early indications suggest little change in production in South America, but in Oceania, assuming a return to a normal season after last year’s drought, output should recover sharply in Australia.

For rice, the paddy season is well advanced among countries located south of and along the equator, but is just starting in the northern hemisphere, where the bulk of the world's rice is produced. Based on the first and very tentative FAO forecast, global rice production in 2007 could rise marginally to 423 million tonnes (milled terms), about 3 million tonnes more than in 2006.

Table 1. Cereal Production1 ( million tonnes)

Change: 2007
over 2006 (%)
Asia 899.5 907.6 0.9
Far East798.3805.80.9
Near East in Asia71.771.80.2
CIS in Asia29.429.81.5
Africa 142.4 135.7 -4.7
North Africa35.431.1-12.2
Western Africa47.547.50.0
Central Africa3.63.4-4.1
Eastern Africa34.733.3-4.2
Southern Africa21.220.4-3.6
Central America & Caribbean 36.4 37.5 3.0
South America 108.0 123.1 14.0
North America 386.8 419.7 8.5
Europe 403.4 419.6 4.0
EU 2248.4280.312.8
CIS in Europe118.5123.34.1
Oceania 18.6 38.2 105.7
World 1 995.1 2 081.5 4.3
Developing countries 1 138.5 1 156.2 1.6
Developed countries 856.5 925.3 8.0
- wheat597.7626.34.8
- coarse grains978.21 032.65.6
- rice (milled)419.2422.60.8
1Includes rice in milled terms.
2EU-25 in 2006 and EU-27 in 2007.
Note: Totals computed from unrounded data.

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