Wheat, rice harvests headed for record high
THE world’s wheat and rice producers are headed for a record harvest this year, drastically reducing the global food bill as prices fall.
Overall cereal production is projected to rise by 1.5 percent this year, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation 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, vegetables, and 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 EU as the grain’s largest exporter”.
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. –