Crop Prospects and Food Situation, No. 4, December 2015

Highlights

FAO’s latest forecasts for global supply and demand of cereals continue to point to a generally comfortable 2015/16 marketing season, with world inventories by the close of seasons in 2016 expected to fall only slightly below their record opening levels.

  • AFRICA: Cereal production in 2015 is forecast to fall, mainly reflecting the impact of adverse weather on Southern Africa’s output and the ongoing harvest in East Africa. Harvests in West and Central Africa are forecast to remain close to the levels of 2014, while a production recovery in North Africa is anticipated to prevent a steeper regional decline. Conflicts in several countries continued to severely affect food security and the agriculture sector, while drought conditions in East Africa have severely impacted pastoralist livelihoods.

  • ASIA: A record 2015 cereal crop in China boosted aggregate regional production to levels above the previous year, while a recovery in Turkey’s output also contributed. However, dry weather in some areas of the Far East lowered production in several countries, with a significant decline estimated in India. The persistent conflicts in Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen continued to severely impact on agricultural production and aggravate the humanitarian crisis.

  • LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: Despite improved prospects for second season crops, El Niño-associated dry weather reduced overall 2015 crop production in Central America and the Caribbean, excluding Mexico, where a bumper crop was gathered. Large 2015 maize harvests are also estimated in South America, where plantings for the 2016 crops are expected to decline, mainly reflecting ample regional supplies and lower commodity prices.

  • El Niño continues to impact on global agriculture: Following El Niño-related dry weather that adversely affected 2015 crop production in parts of Asia, Central America and the Caribbean, and Oceania, developing dryness in Southern Africa has dampened early 2016 production prospects.

  • FAO estimates that, globally, 33 countries, including 26 in Africa, are in need of external assistance for food.