COUNTRIES REQUIRING EXTERNAL ASSISTANCE FOR FOOD
FAO assesses that globally 45 countries, including 34 in Africa, 9 in Asia and 2 in Latin America and the Caribbean, are in need of external assistance for food. Conflicts and climate-related shocks continue to underpin the high levels of severe food insecurity. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily in terms of income losses, have exacerbated vulnerabilities and heightened existing levels of food insecurity.
Following poor main harvests in southern parts of East Africa, production prospects are more positive in northern countries, on account of favourable weather. Outlooks are mixed in West African and Central African countries, where less-than-favourable rainfall forecasts and persisting conflicts are impairing production prospects. The bulk of the main season harvests were completed in North Africa and Southern Africa, and outputs are estimated at above-average levels.
Widespread and prolonged rainfall deficits in Near East countries are expected to result in below-average cereal outputs. In Far East countries, the production outlook for the 2021 cereal crops is favourable, owing to large plantings and conducive weather conditions. In CIS Asia, scarce precipitation amounts have cut back production expectations and near-average cereal harvests are forecast in 2021.
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
In South America, cereal harvests are forecast at high levels in 2021, but continued dryness in Brazil has sharply reduced prospects compared to initial expectations. Cereal outputs in Central America in 2021 are forecast slightly below average, as dryness curbs yield prospects.