Food outlook

• INDICATIONS POINT TO a reduction in global cereal output in 2009.

• THE 2009 PADDY season is well advanced in the southern hemisphere rice producing areas, with the harvest due to commence from March- April. Indonesia, by far the largest producer of these countries, is on the brink of achieving self-sufficiency in rice in 2009 if the targeted 63mn tonnes of crop materialises.

• LARGE WINTER WHEAT plantings are estimated in some Asian countries, especially where government support measures have been introduced to maintain/boost production such as in China, India and Pakistan. However, the benefits from these increases look likely to be minimal, if any, as the main wheat growing areas of China are suffering from severe drought and precipitation has also been somewhat scarce in India.

• GLOBAL CEREAL PRODUCTION in 2008 is estimated at a record 2,272mn tonnes (including rice in milled terms), 6.6 per cent up from the previous year. While in developed countries the 2008 cereal output is estimated 12.3 per cent higher than in the previous year, in developing countries the expansion was just 2.3 per cent. This mainly reflects a weak supply response in Asia, accounting for three-quarters of the developing countries’ production, where the aggregate cereal output remained virtually unchanged. Although some moderate growth was recorded in the main producing countries in the Far East, taking production there to new record levels, this was offset by reductions in the Near East.

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