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Business News of Friday, 4 October 2013

Source: GNA

World cereal production to jump this year

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says the outlook for global cereal supply in the 2013/14 marketing season remains generally favourable despite downward adjustments to forecasts for world cereal production and closing stocks.

According to the latest issue of FAO's quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, despite this downward adjustment, world cereal production would still surpass the 2012 level by nearly eight per cent. Peter Lowrey of the FAO Media Relations in Rome made the report available to the Ghana News Agency on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the FAO Food Price Index dropped for the fifth month in a row in September, driven by a sharp fall in the international prices of cereals. The prices of dairy, oils, meat and sugar rose slightly.

The Index, which measures the monthly change in the international prices of a basket of 55 food commodities, averaged 199.1 points last month, 2.3 points or one per cent below its August value. It is down 11 points or 5.4 per cent since the beginning of the year. However, it is still higher than in the same period in 2009 or 2010.

It said at 2,489 million tonnes, FAO's current forecast for world cereal production in 2013 is marginally lower by 3 million tonnes than reported in September, mainly reflecting poorer prospects for the South America wheat crop, following adverse weather.

“The expected eight per cent increase in world cereal production this year over 2012 is mainly the result of an 11 per cent anticipated expansion in coarse grains output to about 1 288 million tonnes.

“The United States, the world's largest maize producer, would account for the bulk of the increase, as it is expected to harvest a record maize crop of 348 million tonnes, 27 per cent higher than the previous year's drought-reduced level,” it said.

The FAO forecast for world cereal stocks by the close of seasons in 2014 has been revised downward by almost two per cent since September, to 559 million tonnes, still 12 per cent (62 million tonnes) above their opening level and the highest level since 2001/02.

It said international trade in cereals in 2013/14 is forecast to reach 312.4 million tonnes, 1.6 per cent (4.8 million tonnes) higher than in 2012/13 and slightly above the level expected in September. Adding that trade in 2013/14 is expected to benefit from larger export availabilities of coarse grains in particular.

The report noted that serious food insecurity would affect Syria, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It said despite an improved food supply situation this year in the Sahel, a large number of people are still affected by conflict and the lingering effects of the 2011/12 food crisis, notably in northern Mali.

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