Indications are that world cereal production may decline by 1.5 per cent from what it was last year due mainly to the reduced acreage planted with maize, even though the effect will be mitigated by "exceptionally high" levels of existing stocks, according to the latest forecasts in FAO's biannual Food Report published May 7, 2015, reports NaijaAgroNet.
FAO's first forecast for global cereal production in 2015, assuming normal weather conditions for the remainder of the season, amounts to 2.509 billion tonnes, a bit down from last year's record but nearly 5 per cent above the average of the past five years.
The report, NaijaAgroNet further gathered, stated that the modest decline in output would require running inventories down by around 3 per cent in the new season (2015/16), with faster drawdowns for coarse grains and rice than for wheat
"The world food import bill is forecast to reach a five-year low in 2015", the report say, mainly driven by a decline in international prices, low freight rates and a strong US dollar. Import volumes of the various food components of the bill were little changed or even rising. Low income countries are also expected to benefit from lower import bills.
Several years of solid harvests and stockpiling mean most basic food commodities are in surplus. As a result, the projected drop in cereals output is not expected to impact availability of food for consumption.
Dairy production trends are poised for further steady growth of around two percent in 2015, with lower international prices buoying imports in Africa. The abolition of the European Union's milk quota system is likely to boost output and was one of the main drivers of the 6.7 percent monthly drop in the Dairy Price Index, NaijaAgroNet learnt.
Cyriacus Nnaji/ ED,OPs
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