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ROME – (AFP) – World cereal production is set to reach new record levels in 2013, an increase of around 7.0 percentage points compared to last year, the UN food agency said Thursday.
The increase — with an expected 2.479 million tonnes of cereal produced worldwide — will replenish global inventories and should guarantee price-stability in 2013-2014, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a report.
Wheat output is forecast to grow by 6.8 percent to 704 million tonnes, while rice production will grow by 1.9 percent to 500 million tonnes.
Overall, world production of coarse grains will grow by 9.7 percent from 2012 reaching 1275 million tonnes.
The report forecasts that imports of Low Income Food-Deficit Countries will increase by five percent compared to 2012, with Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria expanding the quantity imported more than others.
However, the FAO said that 34 countries will still require external food assistance, of which 27 are in Africa.
In Syria four million people are facing food shortages as civil war hits wheat production and damages livestock sector, the report showed.
Food insecurity warnings have been raised for Egypt, where unrest could curtail food production. Similarly, in Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo escalating conflict is putting the food security of 8.4 million people in danger.
While in West Africa above-average cereal harvest of 2012 guarantees stable food provisions, Eastern Africa conflict areas of Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan present 1 million, 4.3 million and 1.2 million food insicure people respectively.
In North Korea chronic food insecurity is reported with 2.8 million people requiring food assistance before the next harvest in October.