FAO has further raised its estimate of the 2014 world cereal production and its forecast for global cereal stocks. Early prospects for cereal supplies in 2015/16 are mostly favourable, partly sustained by large stocks accumulated over the previous two seasons.
FAO’s first forecast for global wheat production in 2015 indicates a likely small contraction, mostly reflecting an expected decline in Europe from last year’s record output.
Export prices of wheat and maize continued to decline in February, as result of ample world supplies and strong export competition. International quotations of rice also remained under downward pressure.
AFRICA: In Southern and Central Africa the early 2015 production outlook remains uncertain, mostly due to adverse weather conditions, while in North Africa prospects are positive. This follows a bumper 2014 output, reflecting strong production gains in East and southern African countries that more than compensated for a weather-depressed output in West and North Africa. Persisting conflicts in several countries have led to increasing food insecurity, in addition to lowering production prospects in the affected areas.
ASIA: The preliminary outlook for the 2015 winter cereal crops are generally positive, reflecting favourable weather conditions. However, conflicts in some countries of the Near East continue to severely affect food security and disrupt agricultural activities, curbing production prospects.
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: The outlook for 2015 coarse grains production in South America remains favourable, despite a contraction in plantings. In Central America, early indications in the main producer Mexico points to a good 2015 first season coarse grains production, while the cereal supply situation remains tight in the drought-affected countries of the subregion.
FAO estimates that globaly 37 countries, including 29 in Africa, are in need of external assistance for food.