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Crop prospects and food situation - No. 2, Apr 2009

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High food prices persist in developing countries despite an improved global cereal supply situation and sharp decline in international prices. This is affecting access to food of large numbers of low-income vulnerable populations.

A recent analysis of domestic food prices for 58 developing countries shows that latest prices are higher than a year earlier in 78 percent of the cases, and in 43 percent of the cases are higher than 3 months earlier. Mostly affected are sub-Saharan African countries.

Global cereal stocks are anticipated to increase sharply at the end of 2008/09 season mainly reflecting the record cereal output in 2008.

World cereal production in 2009 is forecast by FAO to fall by 3 percent from the record level of last year. However, the supply outlook for 2009/10 is still satisfactory due to ample carryover stocks.

In the Low-Income Food-Deficit countries as a group, the 2009 cereal production could remain around the good level of 2008.

Food emergencies persist in 32 countries worldwide despite good 2008 cereal crops in many of the countries normally most at risk from food insecurity.

Countries in crisis requiring external assistance (1) (total: 32 countries)

Countries with unfavourable prospects for current crops (2)


1 Countries in crisis requiring external assistance are expected to lack the resources to deal with reported critical problems of food insecurity. Food crises are nearly always due to a combination of factors but for the purpose of response planning, it is important to establish whether the nature of food crises is predominantly related to lack of food availability, limited access to food, or severe but localized problems. Accordingly, the list of countries requiring external assistance is organized into three broad, not mutually exclusive, categories:

Countries facing an exceptional shortfall in aggregate food production/supplies as a result of crop failure, natural disasters, interruption of imports, disruption of distribution, excessive post-harvest losses, or other supply bottlenecks.

Countries with widespread lack of access, where a majority of the population is considered to be unable to procure food from local markets, due to very low incomes, exceptionally high food prices, or the inability to circulate within the country.

Countries with severe localized food insecurity due to the influx of refugees, a concentration of internally displaced persons, or areas with combinations of crop failure and deep poverty.

2 Countries facing unfavourable prospects for current crops are countries where prospects point to a shortfall in production of current crops as a result of a reduction of the area planted and/or adverse weather conditions, plant pets, diseases and other calamities which indicate a need for close monitoring of the crops for the remiander of the growing season.

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