World wheat production in 2003 is set to beat the figure set in 2002 by 3.6 per cent, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The food body predicts that total world production will be around 590 million tonnes.
This would make 2003 the most successful year for global wheat production since 1999.
The increase in wheat production is expected to be especially pronounced in Australia, Canada and the United States, where output in 2002 was severely cut by drought. However the FAO believes that output will recover significantly.
Winter wheat plantation in the US was higher than the year before, giving rise to prospects for a larger harvest with better yields.
Early indications point to a significant increase in plantings in Australia and Canada in response to relatively favourable prices, while yields are expected to recover from last year's drought-reduced levels.
Larger wheat crops are also predicted in South America, where Brazil has introduced incentives to promote domestic production. Some wheat producing countries in Africa are also expected to have a successful year.
On the other hand, the FAO believes that wheat production will decline in Asia, where dry weather conditions have prevailed. A particularly harsh winter in Europe, particularly in the former Soviet states, may also adversely affect wheat crops.
In addition, aggregate wheat stocks in major exporting countries are forecast at 34 million tonnes, down 13 million tonnes from the previous year and the smallest volume since 1996. This is largely due to smaller supplies in the United States, Canada and Australia.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations was founded in 1945 with a mandate to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living, to improve agricultural productivity, and to better the condition of rural populations.
Today, FAO is one of the largest specialised agencies in the United Nations system and the lead agency for agriculture, forestry, fisheries and rural development. An intergovernmental organisation, FAO has 183 member countries plus one member organisation, the European Community.
Further information is available at fao.org.