Prospects for world cereal production in 2015 remain favourable, despite recent adverse weather conditions in some regions and continuing concerns over El Niño, with the global cereal supply and demand outlook for 2015/16 pointing to generally stable conditions.
Export prices of wheat and maize generally increased in June on concerns about the impact of unfavourable weather yield potential. By contrast, international prices of rice weakened further mainly because of weak import demand. Cereal prices in June remained well below their year-earlier levels, reflecting the continuing overall positive outlook for this year’s production.
AFRICA: Cereal production in 2015 is forecast below last year’s bumper crop, largely reflecting a sharp reduction in Southern Africa due to adverse weather. Delayed onset of seasonal rains in West Africa has also raised concern over production prospects.
Similarly, in East Africa, lower outputs are forecast due to poor rains while the food security situation in South Sudan is very alarming, especially in conflict-affected areas. A rebound in North Africa’s cereal output, mainly wheat, is projected to prevent a steeper decline at the regional level, while a small increase is also forecast in Central Africa, despite persistent and disruptive conflicts.
ASIA: The overall cereal production outlook in 2015 remains positive, mostly on account of a record output forecast in China. However, recent dry weather has dampened prospects in India and several countries of the Far East subregion. In the Near East, 2015 production is expected to recover from last year’s drought-affected output, but escalating conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen exacerbate the humanitarian crisis.
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: Prospects point to an above-average 2015 crop in South America, but below the bumper level of 2014. While the outlook is also positive in Mexico, the presence of El Niño has lowered expectations in the rest of Central America; however, this year’s output is still tentatively forecast to increase from the drought-affected 2014 crop.
FAO estimates that, globally, 34 countries, including 28 in Africa, are in need of external assistance for food.