Biotech Updates

FAO Expects Increase in Poor Countries' Cereal Bill

April 18, 2008

The cereal import bill of the world’s poorest countries is expected to rise by 56 percent, according to a forecast made by the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FAO’s Crop Prospects and Food Situation report projected a 74 percent increase in cereal bill for food-deficit countries in Africa.

Governments of both cereal importing and exporting countries are taking measures to limit the impact of higher international cereal prices on food consumption. In the past two months, prices continued to rice sharply reflecting steady demand. By the end of March, prices of rice and wheat were about double compared to their prices a year earlier. FAO enumerated countries, currently facing food crises, that require external assistance. These include Lesotho, Somalia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Uganda, North Korea, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Nepal, Timor-Leste and Moldova among many others.

World cereal production in 2008, on the other hand, is expected to increase by 2.6 percent to a record 2164 million tons. The bulk of the increase is expected to be in wheat, following significant expansion in plantings in major producing countries. Should the expected growth in 2008 production materialize, the current tight global cereal supply situation could ease in the new 2008/09 season.

Read the news release at The report, including the list of countries requiring external support, is available at