Crop Prospects and Food Situation, No. 1 March 2018

COUNTRIES REQUIRING EXTERNAL ASSISTANCE FOR FOOD

FAO assesses that globally 37 countries are in need of external assistance for food.
Conflicts continue to be the main factor driving the high levels of severe food insecurity.
Weather shocks have also adversely impacted food availability and access, notably in East Africa.

REGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

AFRICA Drought conditions in parts of East Africa curbed cereal production in 2017, intensifying food insecurity in several areas, while the persisting conflict in South Sudan contributed to the drop in the 2017 national cereal harvest to its lowest level since 2013. For 2018, countries in North and Southern Africa are likely to gather reduced harvests due to dry weather conditions. In the remaining subregions, planting of the 2018 cereal crops will start from April.

ASIA Conflicts continue to acutely debilitate food security in Yemen and the Syrian Arab Republic, where large numbers of people require urgent humanitarian assistance. The 2018 main wheat production outlook in the Far East is overall favourable, while dryness has lowered expectations in the Near East and CIS countries.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN Following record cereal outputs in Argentina and Brazil in the previous year, production in 2018 is expected to fall, but to remain above average, in South America mostly owing to reduced plantings after consecutive years of record crops.