World Food Production Expected to Rise in 2012

A recent United Nations report today unveiled that there is an overall positive outlook for cereal production worldwide in 2012.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) quarterly forecast of agricultural production and food – the Crop Prospects and Food Situation report – a record increase of 3.2 per cent in world cereal production is expected in 2012, totalling an estimated 2, 419 million tonnes, mainly on the strength of a bumper maize crop in the United States.

Somali refugee at a camp in Malkadiida, Ethiopia. Fleeing drought and famine in their home country, thousands of Somalis have taken up residence at refugee camps across the border. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

In addition, wheat and coarse grains prices eased in May, mostly during the second half, driven by good supply prospects.

However, FAO highlighted that despite the positive global trends several regions of the world are expected to struggle with the consequences of poor rainfall, severe weather, armed conflict and displacement.

The report shows countries in Africa’s Sahel region continue to face serious challenges to food security due to locally high food prices and civil strife, FAO said in a news release.

FAO projected that world cereal stocks for crop seasons ending in 2013 are forecast to increase to 548 million tonnes, up seven per cent from their opening levels and the highest since 2002.

This outlook is four percent, or 23.5 million tonnes, higher than was reported last month, entirely due to an increase in the forecast for world coarse grain inventories which now stand at 201 million tonnes – up 20 per cent from the previous season’s low of 167 million tonnes, according to FAO.

Globally, the FAO Food Price Index dropped by four per cent in May due to generally favourable supplies, growing world economic uncertainties, and a strengthening of the US dollar.

Earlier this month, with the global population expected to reach nine billion by 2050, ‘foods of the poor’ or ‘forgotten foods’ can play an important role in helping the estimated 925 million people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition worldwide, according to UN.

Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO)said indigenous foods which have been neglected by the food industry and urban consumers can be an important tool to alleviate hunger and malnutrition as well.

According to FAO, globalization has reduced the number of plant species used for food and other purposes from roughly 100,000 to about 30.

With the global population expected to reach nine billion by 2050, FAO is concerned that the world may not be able to produce enough food to meet demand.

FAO reports that indigenous and traditional foods, which are sometimes undervalued can play an important role in helping the millions of people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition worldwide, 60 per cent of whom live in the Asia-Pacific region.

It added that among neglected traditional foods in Asia that could help meet the needs of local populations are forest fruits, sago palm, medicinal wild plants and edible insects.

On October 2011, the United Nations and the United States Peace Corps signed an agreement to cooperate in combating worldwide hunger by increasing food security in the 76 countries where the more than 8,600 US volunteers currently work.

The agreement, signed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN World Food Programme (WFP) at their Rome headquarters, builds on years of cooperation with the 50-year-old US organization.

FAO and the Peace Corps have a long history of working together in rural communities throughout the world. This agreement signals a renewed, enhanced commitment to harnessing the respective strengths and expertise of our three organizations to tackle the root causes of hunger and ensure sustainable food security and economic development.

There are nearly 1 billion hungry people around the world today. Hunger and malnutrition are the number one risk to health worldwide – greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

WFP is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.