Global cereal output in 2002 is estimated at 1 838 million tonnes, slightly up from the forecast in December, but still 3.3 percent down from the previous year. However, given the expected expansion in cereal utilization in 2002/03, world cereal stocks for crop years ending in 2003 could plunge to their lowest level since the early 1970s.
Prospects for 2003 cereal production are mixed. Early indications for the 2003 wheat crops point to a likely increase in global output. The first 2003 coarse grain crops are already planted, and the paddy season is well advanced in many southern hemisphere countries.
Moderate El Niño persists, adding uncertainty to the outcome of the 2003 cereal harvests.
Based on the latest indications, 36 countries in the world are experiencing severe food shortages and require international food assistance.
The forecast for world cereal trade in 2002/03 has been raised to 240 million tonnes, but still remains 3 million tonnes below the previous year's level. The bulk of the decline is on account of small
er wheat trade, while that of coarse grains is forecast to increase marginally. For rice, early indication for trade in 2003 points to a small decline from the high level in 2002.
International prices for most cereals have weakened further since November, as non-traditional exporters continued to shift more of their domestic surpluses onto the world market.
Total world fish production in 2001 is estimated at 129.3 million tonnes, slightly below the previous year's level. Total world trade in fish and fishery products (in export value) is estimated to remain virtually unchanged in 2001, after a strong expansion in the previous year.
Food Outlook is issued by FAO under the Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture. This issue is based on information available up to 12 January 2003.
Contributors to this issue are as follows: Wheat and Coarse Grain Production: S. Ahmed (Eastern Africa & Near East); Ms. L. Balbi (Southern Africa and Great Lakes); M. Gavela (North Africa & Oceania developing); A. Aziz (CIS); J. Senahoun (Western and Central Africa); M. Gavela (Latin America and Caribbean); K. Gunjal (Asia); P. Racionzer (Europe, North America & Oceania developed). Cereal Trade, Stocks, Prices (excl. rice): A. Abbassian; Rice: Ms. C. Calpe; Fish: Ms. H. Josupeit; Fertilizers: J. Poulisse.
Enquiries should be directed to The Chief, Global Information and Early Warning Service, Commodities and Trade Division (ESC), FAO - Rome. Direct Facsimile: 39-06-5705-4495; E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food Outlook and other GIEWS reports are available on the Internet as part of the FAO World Wide Web (www.fao.org) at the following URL address: http://www.fao.org/giews/. In addition, some of the GIEWS regular reports can be received by E-mail through automatic mailing lists: subscription information is available at http://www.fao.org/giews/english/listserv.htm
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