Crop Prospects and Food Situation, No. 1, March 2019
COUNTRIES REQUIRING EXTERNAL ASSISTANCE FOR FOOD
FAO assesses that globally 41 countries, of which 31 are in Africa, continue to be in need of external assistance for food.
Conflict remains the main driver of high levels of severe food insecurity. Weather‑induced production declines and economic instability have also adversely impacted on food availability and access.
Mostly reflecting beneficial weather conditions, production upturns were estimated in East, West and North Africa in 2018, while rainfall deficits cut outputs in Southern Africa. Continued poor rains have also affected the development of the 2019 crops in parts of Southern Africa, while conflicts in several other countries continue to curtail production prospects this year.
Cereal production in 2018 in Far East Asia is estimated at a record high.
By contrast, outputs fell in the Near East and CIS Asia on account of rainfall deficits and the impact of conflicts in parts of the Near East. Production prospects for the soon‑to‑be harvested 2019 wheat crop are generally favourable across the region.
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
Cereal production is expected to increase in South America in 2019, recovering from last year’s reduced output. In Central America and the Caribbean, despite localized dry weather conditions, cereal outputs in 2018 were close to the average. The 2019 wheat crop in Mexico is likely to remain below average.