Early prospects for global cereal production in 2022 now point to a likely decrease, the first in four years, to 2 784 million tonnes, down 16 million tonnes from the record output estimated for 2021, according to FAO’s latest Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, also released last week.
The largest decline is foreseen for maize, followed by wheat and rice, while barley and sorghum outputs will likely increase. The forecasts are based on conditions of crops already in the ground and planting intentions for those yet to be sown.
World cereal utilization is also forecast to decline marginally in 2022/23, by around 0.1 percent from 2021/22 to 2 788 million tonnes, marking the first contraction in 20 years. The decline mainly stems from foreseen decreases in the feed use of wheat, coarse grains and rice, while global food consumption of cereals is expected to increase, keeping pace with world population trends.
World trade in cereals is forecast to decline by 2.6 percent from the 2021/22 level to 463 million tonnes, a three-year low, even as prospects for international trade of rice remain positive.
The new forecasts point to a drop in inventories, resulting in the world cereal stocks-to-use ratio dropping to 29.6 percent in 2022/23 from 30.5 percent in 2021/2022. This new level would be the lowest in nine years, but still well above the 21.4-percent low registered in 2007/08. A drawdown in maize inventories is expected to lead the decline, while wheat stocks are expected to increase.
FAO has also updated its estimates for global cereal output in 2021, now seen rising by 0.9 percent from the year before, and for cereal utilization in 2021/2022, seen rising by 1.1 percent.