FAO forecast that 2012 world wheat production will be the second highest on record at 690 million tonnes and also announced that international food prices rose one percent in February — the second increase in two months.
Published today, FAO’s quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report forecast a 2012 wheat crop 10 million tonnes or 1.4 percent down from the record 2011 harvest but still well above the average of the past five years.
Although plantings have increased or are forecast to increase in many countries this year in response to continuing strong prices, a return to normal yields is expected in areas where record highs were achieved last year, the report said. But it was still too early for a global forecast of 2012 cereal output, it added.
Crop Prospects also noted a firming of international cereal prices in recent weeks due to tightening current wheat supplies and concerns over the impact of severe cold weather in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Turning to the situation at regional level, the report said that adverse weather in West Africa caused a sharp drop in cereal and pasture production in large parts of the Sahel.In Southern Africa, overall crop prospects remain satisfactory despite dry spells and cyclones in some areas.In Far East Asia, prospects for the 2012 wheat crop are generally favourable with output expected to reach last year’s record level due in particular to good gains in India. In Central America, dry weather reduced plantings of the 2012 secondary maize crop in Mexico. Elsewhere, good maize harvests are estimated despite losses due to torrential rains during the recently concluded secondary seasons.In South America, a prolonged dry spell affected the 2012 maize crop in Argentina and Brazil but above-average outputs are still forecast due to increased plantings.
The cereal import bill of Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs) is expected to climb to a record level of $ 32.62 billion in 2012, slightly above the 2010/11 estimate, mainly due to a decline in production and a rise in import requirements in the major importing countries.
Thursday March 8, 2012/ FAO.