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FAO/GIEWS Food Outlook No. 2, 2000


No. 2, 2000 - Rome, April 2000
Extracts from FAO/GIEWS Food Outlook No. 2, 2000


FAO's first forecast of world cereal production in 2000 is 1 890 million tonnes, some 1 percent above 1999. Output of wheat is forecast at 595 million tonnes, 1 percent up from 1999, that of coarse grains at 900 million tonnes, nearly 3 percent up, while the rice crop (milled basis) is tentatively forecast to fall by 1 percent to 395 million tonnes.

While early forecasts point to higher cereal production in 2000, output would not be sufficient to meet expected utilization requirements in 2000/01, and global cereal reserves would have to be drawn down.

Food emergencies persist in 34 countries throughout the world, and unfavourable prospects in several others could lead to localized supply difficulties (see page 4).

FAO's latest forecast of world cereal trade in 1999/2000 is 222 million tonnes, unchanged from the previous report and some 4 percent above the previous year's volume. The increase is attributed to larger imports of both wheat and coarse grains, which would more than offset the likely decline in rice trade.

International grain prices have been volatile and slightly higher in recent weeks, reflecting active trade and concern over adverse weather for the 2000 crop in the major producing areas of the United States. Ample new-crop supplies and dull trading pressured international rice prices downward. The FAO Export Price Index for Rice averaged 104 points in March, its lowest level since June 1994.

Global cassava production recovered in 1999, resulting in an overall increase in food, feed and industrial utilization. Large export availabilities led to a substantial expansion of trade, but prices fell to their lowest level in the decade.

Global milk production is forecast to increase slightly in 2000, but with sustained import demand expected, exportable supplies, especially of milk powder, could be in short supply. As a result, international prices for most dairy products, and especially milk powder, are expected to increase during 2000.

Food Emergencies Persist in 34 Countries Throughout the World 1/

In eastern Africa, nearly 16 million people are facing critical food shortages, mainly due to drought-induced crop and livestock losses. Pastoralists in the subregion are the worst affected after a succession of poor rains, which have led to losses of large numbers of their livestock. In Ethiopia, more than 8 million people are at risk, particularly in the Somali Region, which have had three consecutive years of little or no rainfall. In Eritrea, the food situation is very tight for nearly 600 000 people affected by the war with Ethiopia and the prevailing drought along the coastal areas. In Kenya, the food supply difficulties are alarming in the northern, eastern and north-western pastoral districts affected by successive droughts. Nearly 2.7 million people are facing severe food shortages. In Somalia, nearly 526 000 people are facing severe food shortages. In Tanzania, food assistance is required for nearly 800 000 food insecure people, in several regions throughout the country where the harvest has been poor for the third year in succession. In Sudan, despite an overall stable food security situation, emergency food aid is needed for some 2.4 million people affected by drought and the long-running civil conflict. In Uganda, the food supply situation has deteriorated in Kotido and Moroto districts, with nearly 215 000 people needing urgent food assistance, while, nearly 112 000 people in Bundibugyo district have also been displaced by civil strife. Food shortages also persist in Burundi, and parts of Rwanda. In western Africa, despite an overall favourable food supply outlook, localized food supply difficulties are likely in several areas following severe flooding in northern Ghana and Nigeria and along the Senegal river valley, in Senegal and Mauritania. Food shortages persist in Sierra Leone, where civil disturbances continue to disrupt agricultural production in some areas. In Liberia, production remains constrained due to the impact of the civil war. In central Africa, the food supply situation has improved in the Republic of Congo following the recent peace agreement but it remains fragile. Civil strife in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to hamper agricultural activities particularly in the north-east where increasing fighting and population displacement are reported. In southern Africa, massive relief and rehabilitation assistance is needed in Mozambique and Madagascar, following the devastation caused by severe floods and cyclones. The food supply situation remains very serious in the civil-war ravaged Angola, where emergency food aid continues to be necessary for some 1.1 million displaced people, as well as for large numbers of Angolan refugees in Zambia and Namibia. Elsewhere in southern Africa production prospects are generally satisfactory, notwithstanding severe localized flood damage to crops and infrastructure in Botswana, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia.

In Asia, the latest food emergency to emerge in the region is in Mongolia, where the worst winter weather in 30 years has killed large numbers of animals, which are extremely important for the food security of large numbers of nomadic herdsmen. An estimated quarter of the population of 2.7 million people are likely to face food shortages of varying degrees in the coming months. The food supply situation in East Timor will continue to ease due to international food aid and the harvest of domestic food crops due in the next few weeks, whilst chronic food supply difficulties continue in the Democratic Republic of Korea due to a combination of past disasters and economic problems. In the Near East, the food supply situation is anticipated to deteriorate in Afghanistan due to drought conditions affecting southern parts of the country in particular. The displacement of thousands of people by the long running civil conflict is also serious concern. In Iraq, continued drought conditions have exacerbated the already tight food supply situation. In Jordan, despite some beneficial rains in the winter cropping season, drought conditions have affected agricultural production in several parts. In Syria, thousands of herders are still in need of assistance. Amongst the CIS countries in Asia, the vulnerable populations of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Tajikistan continue to need humanitarian relief.

In Latin America, food assistance continues to be provided, as a consequence of natural hazards, to Cuba, Honduras and Nicaragua, and to Venezuela since December 1999. Food assistance is also being provided in El-Salvador and Guatemala as part of the country reconstruction programme implemented by the Government following hurricane "Mitch's" devastating impact at the end of 1998. In Haiti, food assistance is still being provided due to structural economic problems.

In Europe, about 2 million people have become impoverished and are in need of food aid as a result of prolonged strife in the Balkans, especially in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In the Russian Federation, ongoing strife in Chechnya has led to the displacement of 185 000 people to neighbouring Ingushetia (population 320 000) and huge humanitarian/ shelter/reconstruction needs in Chechnya itself. In Ingushetia, humanitarian assistance is urgently needed over a broad spectrum, including food and medical supplies for some 255 000 IDP's and members of host families.


1/ This page updates information presented on page 2 of the FAO/GIEWS Foodcrops and Shortages report, February 2000. Countries facing exceptional food emergencies are underlined.


Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture
Commodities and Trade Division (ESC), FAO - Rome
Telex: 610181 FAO I - Fax: 0039 06 5705 4495
Email (Internet) : GIEWS1@FAO.ORG

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Food Outlook is issued by FAO under the Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture. It gives a concise analysis of information affecting the situation and outlook for basic foodstuffs.

ENQUIRIES should be directed to Mr. Abdur Rashid, Chief, Global Information and Early Warning Service, Commodities and Trade Division (ESC), FAO - Rome. (Telex:610181 FAO I FAX: 0039 - 06 - 5705 - 4495 E-mail: GIEWS1@FAO.ORG).

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