Global output of wheat, rice seen set to increase this year

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Production of two of the world’s main grain staples — wheat and rice — as well as coarse grains are set to increase this year despite the challenges posed by covid, the Food And Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in its biannual report on global food markets.

World rice production is set to reach 508.7 million tons in 2020, up 1.5 percent from the 2019 reduced level and marking a new annual record.
Asia is poised to lead this expected expansion, although a sizable area-led rebound is also anticipated in the United States, together with a partial upturn in South America and the Caribbean.

On the other hand, floods, coupled with input constraints, may forestall growth in Africa, while limited water for irrigation has
reduced crops in Europe and Oceania, the report said.

With ample supplies and efforts to ensure affordable access to rice by vulnerable groups fuelling food use growth, world rice utilisation in 2020/21 is forecast to expand at its fastest pace in seven years to reach 510.3 million tons.

Global rice inventories at the close of the 2020/21 marketing seasons are forecast at 182.0 million tonnes, fractionally below the 2019/20 estimate, which represented the second highest volume on record.

Compared to the expansion in rice, world wheat production is set to grow only marginally to 762.7 million tons this year, up from 761.9 million tons last year, FAO estimated.

Higher forecasts in several countries, especially Australia, the Russian Federation and India, will likely outweigh smaller crops expected in Argentina, Ukraine, the United States and  the European Union, it added.

Total wheat utilisation is forecast to rise slightly through the crop year 
2020/21, driven mainly by increases in food use in Asia and Africa.
Reduced price competitiveness of wheat compared to other cereals is expected to keep feed and industrial uses of wheat in 2020/21 close to their 2019/20 levels in most countries, except for China and India, where some increases are likely.

By the close of seasons in 2021, global wheat inventories are forecast to reach 281 million tons, up 1.9 %percent from 2020. This increase will largely be the result of a sharp rise in China’s stock levels to 139 million tonnes, or nearly half of global stocks. 

Excluding China, global wheat inventories are anticipated to contract by 3.8%, weighed down by expected declines in several leading wheat exporters, particularly Argentina, the EU and the US.

Coarse grains seen higher too

Global coarse grain production will be in line with the expansions estimated for wheat and rice.

The output of coarse grains will increase by 2.4% this year to a
record 1,478 million tons, out of which maize (corn) production is seen rising by 1.9% to an all-time high of1,160 million tons.

The increase in corn production will  largely be driven by expectations of strong production rebounds in the United States and South Africa, as well as record harvests in Argentina and Brazil.

Barley output is also set to rise, while sorghum production is forecast to rebound from a decline seen last year.

Total coarse grain utilization is heading to a new peak in 2020/21, forecast at 2,745 million tons, up 2.6% on predicted higher feed
and other non-food uses. 

Feed use of maize (corn) is seen rising by 1.6% percent, boosted by anticipated strong demand in Argentina, Brazil and China. Global feed use of barley is expected to expand by 3.6 % percent.

Strong growth in sorghum feed use in China is expected to push up global sorghum feed use by almost 16 % percent. Brisk demand for starch and corn-based ethanol is also expected to increase demand for coarse grains.

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