COUNTRIES REQUIRING EXTERNAL ASSISTANCE FOR FOOD
FAO assesses that globally 45 countries, including 34 in Africa, are in need of external assistance for food. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly through the loss of income and jobs related to containment measures, have severely aggravated global food security conditions, as well as increasing the number of people in need of assistance. Conflicts and weather shocks remained critical factors affecting the current high levels of severe food insecurity.
Larger harvests are estimated in Southern Africa and East Africa, despite floods and outbreaks of desert locusts; although pest damages have been largely contained, serious concerns remain in some countries. Adverse weather reduced wheat outputs in North African countries, while cereal production in West Africa is foreseen at a slightly above-average level. Protracted conflicts continue to limit growth in agricultural production in Central Africa.
Widespread floods caused damage in several countries in Far East Asia, but rains across the subregion were also beneficial for paddy production and the output in 2020 is forecast at a record high. In the Near East, reflecting improved security conditions and favourable weather, production upturns were estimated in the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq in 2020. Rainfall shortages generally kept wheat outputs in CIS countries at below-average levels, but barley production increased driven by larger plantings.
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
In South America, cereal production is forecast to reach a new record high in 2020 underpinned by large maize plantings in Brazil and Argentina, as weak currencies boosted export demand and incentivized farmers.
In Central America and the Caribbean, overall favourable weather conditions supported good yields, and cereal production in 2020 is expected at a slightly above-average level.