Analytical Reports

Crop Prospects and Food Situation

FAO assesses that globally 45 countries, including 33 in Africa, nine in Asia, two in Latin America and the Caribbean and one in Europe, are in need of external assistance for food.
Although drought conditions eased in East Africa, production prospects remain unfavorable in 2023, while conflicts in several parts of the African continent are aggravating food security concerns.
At the global level, El Niño poses a risk to agricultural production and food security in several regions, particularly Southern Africa and Central America.


Substantial rainfall deficits curbed 2023 wheat harvests in North Africa, whilst aggregate cereal production in Southern Africa, despite the impact of cyclones and dryness, is pegged at an above-average level. Erratic rains are impairing 2023 production prospects in East Africa, following two successive years of widespread drought that had a devastating impact on food security, which is further weakened by conflicts, notably in the Sudan. In West Africa, beneficial weather conditions are underpinning an overall favorable production outlook in 2023, but conflicts still impinge on local agricultural productive capacity.

In Far East Asia, aggregate wheat production reached a record high in 2023 and prospects are generally favorable for the other 2023 main season cereal crops. In Myanmar, civil insecurity is causing shortages and high prices of agricultural inputs, potentially curtailing production. Following early season dryness in Near East Asia, increased rainfall amounts since March improved crop conditions and 2023 cereal production is forecast at an above average level.

In South America, prolonged drought conditions have cut production in Argentina, where the 2023 maize harvest is forecast well below the average. By contrast, robust demand has driven up plantings in Brazil and, combined with good weather conditions, maize production is foreseen to reach an all-time record in 2023. In Central America and the Caribbean, poor rains in 2023 are undermining cereal production prospects in Haiti, where acute food insecurity worsened due to civil insecurity, violence and the country's economic downturn.


Global cereal production forecast lifted and now reaching a record high FAO’s new forecast for global cereal production in 2023 has been raised by 5.9 million tonnes (0.2 percent) in July compared to the previous month, now standing at 2 819 million tonnes, 1.1 percent higher year on year and reaching a record high.

This month’s increase almost entirely reflects better prospects for global wheat production, with the forecast lifted by 0.9 percent to 783.3 million tonnes, albeit still remaining 18.4 million below the record registered in 2022.

Upward revisions have been made to the forecast for wheat production in the European Union, where generally conducive weather conditions instigated a small upturn in yield expectations, notwithstanding the effects of rainfall deficits in the Iberian Peninsula.

Forecasts have also been raised marginally for Canada and Kazakhstan, where spring wheat is predominantly grown, on account of higher-than-previously anticipated plantings, while recently released official estimates place Türkiye’s wheat crop higher than the preliminary forecast.

These increases more than offset a sizeable cut to Australia’s production forecast, as expectations of drier-than-normal weather conditions have undermined yield prospects.

The forecast for global production of coarse grains in 2023 was lowered fractionally in July relative to the previous month’s figure but, pegged at 1 512 million tonnes, is still 2.9 percent higher than in 2022.

The downgrade includes downward revisions to maize production forecasts for East African countries, owing to uneven rainfall distribution that curtailed yield potentials.

These reductions more than outweigh an increase in the global production forecast for barley, largely reflecting official estimates from Türkiye that point to a larger than-initially expected harvest.

Improved yield expectations for Bangladesh and a few small adjustments to production figures for countries located along and south of the equator, where main crop harvests have now concluded, have slightly raised FAO’s forecast for world rice production in 2023/24 to 523.7 million tonnes (milled basis), up from a revised 2022/23 global harvest figure of 517.6 million tonnes.

The forecast for world cereal utilization in 2023/24 has been lifted marginally (by 1.5 million tonnes, or 0.1 percent) in July compared to the previous month and is now set to reach 2 805 million tonnes, 0.9 percent higher than in 2022/23.

An upward revision of 2.3 million tonnes to wheat utilization, driven mostly by higher than earlier anticipated feed use, has lifted the total wheat utilization forecast for 2023/24 to 783 million tonnes, 0.3 percent higher than in 2022/23.

Pegged at 1 503 million tonnes, FAO’s forecast for total coarse grain utilization in 2023/24 is nearly unchanged since June and still points to an expansion of 1.6 percent from the 2022/23 level, with an anticipated increase in maize utilization, especially for feed, accounting for the bulk of the growth.

World rice utilization in 2023/24 remains forecast at 520.0 million tonnes, essentially unchanged from the 2022/23 level, as an anticipated population-led expansion in food use will likely be largely offset by a reduction in the use of rice for animal feed.

FAO’s new forecast for world cereal stocks by the close of 2023/2024 seasons stands at 878 million tonnes, up 5.1 million tonnes (0.6 percent) compared to the figure in June and 2.3 percent from the previous season.

At this level, the global cereal stocks-to-use ratio in 2023/24 would remain unchanged year on year at 30.6 percent, continuing to indicate comfortable supply prospects in the new season.

Global wheat inventories are now seen rising slightly above their opening levels (by 0.9 percent) in 2023/24 and reaching 314 million tonnes, as a result of a 5.5-million tonne upward adjustment this month largely following revisions made for China, the European Union and Kazakhstan.

The forecast for global coarse grain inventories has been trimmed fractionally this month, mainly resting on downward revisions to maize stocks in Brazil and Ukraine, but still points to a 3.7-percent year-on-year rise to 366 million tonnes in 2023/24, bolstered by a sharp anticipated rebound in maize stocks in the United States of America.

World rice stocks at the close of 2023/24 seasons are pegged at an all-time high of 198.5 million tonnes. This forecast is up slightly from June, mainly mirroring expectations of a less pronounced drawdown in Myanmar.

FAO’s latest forecast for world trade in total cereals in 2023/24 points to a 0.9-percent decline from the 2022/23 level despite a 1.1-million-tonne (0.2 percent) upward revision made this month, largely concerning wheat.

The forecast for global wheat trade in 2023/24 (July/June) has been lifted from June by 1.6 million tonnes to 195 million tonnes, but still represents a 3.4-percent contraction from the 2022/23 record level. Expectations of larger sales by Canada, supported by better production prospects, and a stronger demand from China than previously anticipated, underpin this month’s upward revision.

At 221 million tonnes, the forecast for trade in coarse grains in 2023/24 (July/June) is nearly unchanged since last month and down just marginally (0.3 percent) from the 2022/23 level.

Global maize trade is seen contracting in 2023/24 by 0.8 percent, with import demand from the European Union anticipated to retreat from its high level in 2022/23 and exports from Ukraine forecast to fall, along with a likely decline in sales from Paraguay after rising to a record in 2022/23.

World trade of barley is also predicted to contract in 2023/24, mostly reflecting a foreseen decline in sales from Australia and a weaker demand in Asia.

By contrast, global sorghum trade is forecast to expand, bolstered by an expected recovery in sales by the United States of America and larger purchases by China.

Largely reflecting downscaled import expectations for Bangladesh, China and Nigeria, FAO’s forecast for international trade in rice in 2023 (January-December) has been lowered to 53.0 million tonnes, down 0.6 million tonnes from June’s forecast and 5.1 percent below the 2022 all-time high.



Production Overview

Total cereal production in Africa is forecast at 212 million tonnes (rice in paddy terms) in 2023, 0.6 percent higher than the five-year average.
The production upturn primarily reflects larger outputs in Southern Africa, where the main season crops have been harvested, and West Africa, with the main harvest period to start in August.
While mostly conducive weather conditions in Southern African fostered an increase in planting and yields, cyclones in Malawi and Mozambique, and seasonal rainfall deficits in northern Namibia and southern Angola contained harvests.
In West Africa, rainfall amounts have so far been above average, and are predicted to continue, supporting the good production prospects.
In East Africa, with the main season crops yet to be harvested, erratic distribution of rains is seen to curb production in several countries, while in the Sudan the conflict has caused high prices and shortages of key agricultural inputs that significantly constrained plantings.
Widespread drought conditions in western parts of North Africa resulted in a second consecutive below average wheat harvest in 2023, the main cereal grown in the subregion.


Production Overview

Total cereal production in Asia is forecast at 1 502 million tonnes (rice in paddy terms) in 2023, a sizeable 4.3 percent increase relative to the previous five-year average.

Most of the production growth originates in the large producers of Far East Asia, where remunerative prices drove up wheat plantings that underpinned a record-high wheat outturn in 2023.

Prospects are generally favourable for the other main season cereal crops in 2023, however in Myanmar insecurity is causing shortages and high prices of agricultural inputs, potentially curtailing production in 2023.

In the Near East subregion, improved rainfall since March helped foster a recovery in crop conditions, following early-seasonal dryness, and aggregate production is forecast at an above-average level in 2023.

In Central Asia, larger plantings and generally good weather conditions are supporting favourable production prospects for wheat.


Production Overview

Total cereal production in Latin America and the Caribbean is forecast at an above-average level of 295.7 million tonnes (rice in paddy terms) in 2023.

This large output principally reflects a record maize outturn forecast in Brazil, underpinned by robust demand that drove up the maize acreage and generally conducive weather conditions that are supporting good yield expectations.

Outputs elsewhere in South America are foreseen to remain unchanged or fall due to prolonged dry spells in 2023, especially in Argentina where drought conditions are seen to cut total cereal production in 2023 by 18 percent compared to the five-year average.

In Central America, aggregate cereal production is pegged an average level in 2023, however, there are serious concerns in Haiti where rainfall shortages in 2023 and continued insecurity are undermining production prospects.


Production Overview

In the United States of America, total wheat production in 2023 is forecast to remain below the five-year average, as prolonged drought conditions contain yield prospects , offsetting the positive impact of an increase in plantings, that reached the highest level since 2015.

Maize production is pegged at an above-average level in 2023, however there are some concerns regarding drier conditions in the main producing states that could curb yields. In Canada, a substantial wheat output is forecast in 2023, driven by an expansion in plantings.

In the European Union, total wheat production is forecast at an above average level in 2023, largely reflecting an upturn in yields in most countries, except in the Iberian Peninsula, where persistent rainfall deficits curtailed yield prospects.

Maize production is forecast to increase in 2023, on account of an expected rise in yields compared to the drought-affected levels of 2022.

In Oceania, following three consecutive bumper wheat outputs in Australia, production is seen to fall sharply in 2023, owing to expectations of reduced rainfall amounts that are undermining yield expectations.

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