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Crop prospects and food situation - No. 3, May 2007

Situation Report
Originally published



World cereal production in 2007 remains on course to reach a record level of 2 095 million tonnes, but with some major crops yet to be planted, the forecast is still tentative.

Based on the current 2007 production outlook, global cereal supplies are forecast to increase in the new 2007/08 marketing season. However, with carryover stocks at their lowest level since the early 80s, total supplies would still be barely adequate to meet the anticipated demand, which is forecast to increase strongly boosted by the fast-growing biofuels industry.

International prices for most cereals have risen signi?cantly in 2006/07 so far, and are likely to remain high in 2007/08. As a result, the cereal import bill of the LIFDCs is forecast to increase by about onequarter in the current season.

In the LIFDCs as a group, production prospects point to a 2007 cereal output similar to last year's good level. However, excluding China and India, the largest producers, the aggregate crop of the remaining countries is forecast to decline slightly.

In North Africa, a sharp decline is expected in 2007 aggregate cereal production, mainly re?ecting dry conditions in Morocco, which are anticipated to halve the country's wheat production this year.

In Southern Africa, an aggregate reduced cereal harvest is being gathered for the second year in succession. In drought-affected Zimbabwe, a huge rise in the price of the basic staple maize is anticipated. By contrast, in Malawi, an ample exportable surplus is available following a bumper harvest.

Despite improved food supply in many of the countries normally most at risk from food insecurity, following record or bumper 2006 cereal crops, food dif?culties persist in 33 countries worldwide.