The world’s wheat and rice producers are headed for a record harvest this year, drastically reducing the global food bill as prices fall, the FAO said on Thursday.
Overall cereal production is projected to rise by 1.5 percent this year from 2015, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said in its food outlook.
The bumper output will boost food inventories and bring prices down, pushing down the value of total food imports by 11 percent in US dollar terms “as lower bills for livestock products and cereal-based foodstuffs more than offset higher bills for fish, fruit and vegetables, oils and particularly sugar,” it said.
However many poorer nations will fail to benefit from the windfall, the FAO warned, because their currencies have weakened, eliminating the benefits of cheaper food through a worsening exchange rate.
Global wheat production increases are being led by India, the US and Russia,which is “poised to overtake the European Union as the grain’s largest exporter”.
Meanwhile, rice production has received a great boost from abundant monsoon rains in Asia and output rises in Africa, adding to record crops for coarse grain in the US, Argentina and India.
Futures prices on the Chicago market for wheat and maize, which is seeing a recovery in output, have fallen by over 16 percent since the start of the year in anticipation of the supply increases, the FAO noted, while rice price quotes are at their lowest since 2008.
Production of cassava, a staple crop in Africa, is projected to rise by 2.6 percent this year.
Soybeans and other oilcrops could reach a production record this year, although supply is being outstripped by surging demand, the FAO said, reports AFP, Rome.