Crop Prospects and Food Situation, No. 2, July 2014
Prospects for 2014 global cereal production improve further with upward revisions to coarse grains and wheat forecasts, contributing to an enhanced cereal supply outlook for 2014/15.
International prices of wheat and maize dropped in June, reflecting favourable production prospects, while rice export quotations increased slightly. Cereal export prices were overall lower than their year earlier levels.
In North Africa, an average cereal crop is forecast, with larger harvests expected in Algeria and Tunisia, while a decline is anticipated in Morocco.
In the Central African Republic (CAR), continued civil insecurity has jeopardized crop production and the food situation of a large number of people is expected to deteriorate further.
In Eastern Africa, continued and escalating conflicts in parts of South Sudan, the Sudan and Somalia, further exacerbated the food insecurity situation of vulnerable groups. Drier-than-normal weather conditions are also raising concerns for crop and livestock conditions.
In Western Africa, in spite of adequate cereal supplies at the regional level following last year’s above average harvests, humanitarian assistance is still needed in several parts, due mostly to conflict related population displacements.
In Southern Africa, cereal production is expected to recover significantly in 2014 compared to the drought-reduced crop of last year. Food prices have started to decline thus improving food access.
In the Far East Asia, early prospects for the main season’s rice and coarse grains crops, currently being planted, are favourable. However, a considerable decline is forecast in Sri Lanka due to dry weather.
In the Near East, adverse weather conditions and an escalation of conflicts in the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq have negatively impacted on crop production and food security.
In Central America, despite uncertainty regarding a possible El Niño occurrence, the current outlook for coarse grains production is positive.
In South America, production prospects for coarse grains are favourable, despite an expected decline in maize production from last year’s record level. Wheat production is forecast to recover strongly from its two-year low, as sowings increased significantly in response to high prices.
FAO estimates that globally 33 countries, including 26 countries in Africa, are in need of external assitance for food due to conflict, crop failures and high domestic food prices or a combination of them.
FAO is closely monitoring the development of a possible El Niño event, which could have implications on global cereal production. Latest forecasts indicate a 70 percent probability of an occurrence during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer.