World’s cereal production headed for a record in 2017: FAO

September 21, 2017 9:36 pm
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Cereal production is up, but so is hunger in regions affected by conflict and climate change © cds/AFP / ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN

, Paris, France, Sep 21 – The world’s cereal production is headed for a bumper 2017, with total output on track for a record, the United Nation’s food agency said Thursday.

The increase will not, however, automatically alleviate world hunger, as conflicts and weather disasters continue to threaten food security in many regions, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said in a report.

“Global cereal production is forecast to reach a record level in 2017,” the FAO said.

“Robust harvests in Latin America and rebounding agricultural conditions in southern Africa are on course to improve the global food supply situation, but ongoing civil conflicts and climate-related shocks are affecting progress towards hunger reduction,” it said.

Total cereal production is estimated to reach 2.611 billion tonnes by the end of the year.

Major gains are expected in Argentina and Brazil, while Africa is on target to add 10 percent.

“Hurricanes in the Caribbean and floods in West Africa are likely to hamper local farm outputs, but broader food production trends are positive, buoyed by expectations of record cereal outputs in several countries.”

The FAO said some 37 countries, 28 of which are in Africa, still require external assistance for food.

Weather shocks this year, including droughts, have worsened the food situation in many places, notably Somalia and southern Ethiopia.

But elsewhere in Africa, production levels have rebounded from last year when they were hit by the El Nino weather phenomenon, especially in the southern and northern parts of the continent.

Production is also projected to rise in so- called “low-income food-deficit” countries, allowing them cut down on necessary food imports.

Last week, several UN agencies, including the FAO, said that 2016 had seen a sudden rise in world hunger after years of stability, due to conflicts and climate change.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo alone, nearly eight million people face acute hunger as a result of conflict, especially in the central Kasai region, they said.

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