Poor rain likely to hit world grain output

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 28 2009, 04:16am hrs
Poor rainfall and adverse weather conditions in a few countries in Europe and the US are likely to dent global food grain production in 2009-10 by 3.7% to 1,715 million tonne from last year, according to UK-based International Grains Council (IGC).

The UK bodys forecast comes after the UN agency World Meteorological Organisation warned that there is more than 50% chance of El Nino happening this year. El Nino is caused by an abnormal warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean and its impact would cause droughts and floods.

According to the IGC forecast, global foodgrain production is expected to be 1,715 million tonne in 2009-10, compared with 1,781 million tonne in the year-ago period.

Insufficient rain in the European Union and Argentina, and wet weather conditions in North America have reduced crop output. The growth of wheat in parts of western Canada and northern US continued to lag under cool and wet conditions, it said.

Poor weather during the maize planting season has reduced sowing in the US, it said, adding that severe drought in Hungary and Romania earlier in the season has also reflected in reduced crop estimates. Meanwhile in India, the lower than normal monsoon forecast by the weather department is expected to have impact on sowing during the Kharif season, this year.

The IGC has pegged global wheat output at 652 million tonne in 2009-10, down by over five %from last years 687 million tonnes. World maize output is projected to be down by about 2 %at 768 million tonne during the review period.

The global consumption of wheat is seen to be the same at last years level at 644 million tonne. The demand for maize is expected to be a record 788 million tonne this year, compared with 777 million tonne last year, it said.