WASHINGTON, July 16, 2013- World total cereal production is forecast to increase by about seven percent in 2013 compared to last year, helping to raise expectations for more stable markets in 2013/14, according to the latest issue of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report.

World wheat output in 2013 is predicted at 704 million tonnes, an increase of 6.8 percent, which more than recoups the previous year's reduction and represents the highest level in history, FAO reported.

World production of coarse grains in 2013 is now forecast by FAO up 9.7 percent from 2012.

World rice production in 2013 is forecast to expand by 1.9 percent.

Cereal imports for 2013/14 of “Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries,” a list which includes 62 countries, are estimated to rise by five percent to meet growing demand. Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria, are noted as having significant import increases.

Serious food insecurity affects Syria, Central Africa, parts of West Africa

The report focused on developments affecting the food security situation of developing countries. In total, there are 34 countries requiring external food assistance, of which 27 countries are in Africa.

FAO emphasized the following situations in its review of food insecurity hotspots:

In Syria, 2013 wheat production dropped significantly below average due to the escalating civil conflict leading to disruptions in farming activities. Livestock sector has been severely affected. About four million people are estimated to be facing severe food insecurity.

In Egypt, civil unrest and dwindling foreign exchange reserves raise serious food security concerns.

In Central Africa, serious food insecurity conditions prevail due to escalating conflict affecting about 8.4 million people in Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In West Africa, the overall food situation is favourable in most parts of the Sahel following an above-average 2012 cereal harvest. However, a large number of people are still affected by conflict and the lingering effects of the 2011/12 food crisis.

In East Africa, although household food security has improved in most countries, serious concerns remain in conflict areas in Somalia, the Sudan, and South Sudan, with 1 million, 4.3 million and 1.2 million food insecure people, respectively.

In Madagascar, damage caused by locusts and a cyclone is expected to reduce crop production in 2013, causing increased hunger, especially in the southern and western regions of the country.

In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, despite improved cereal harvest of the 2012 main season and the near normal outcome of the ongoing harvest of the 2013 early season, chronic food insecurity exists. An estimated 2.8 million vulnerable people require food assistance until the next harvest in October.


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