ROME, ITALY — Cereal production, utilization and trade are all reaching record levels in 2021-22, according to the Feb. 3 UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, which also noted a rise in its Food Price Index (FFPI).

The FAO has increased its world cereal production forecast for 2021 by 2.1 million tonnes, lifting its projection to 793 million tonnes, 0.8% higher year-over-year in its Feb. 3 report. February’s change notes larger-than-previously estimated wheat production in Argentina and Australia, along with slightly higher production estimates in the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

By contrast, the forecast for world coarse grain production in 2021 has been trimmed by 0.2%, due to cuts in sorghum production estimates in Burkina Faso, the Niger, and the United States. Partly offsetting these reductions, maize production estimates have been raised in the European Union, Ukraine and the United States, which registered its second largest crop on record in 2021. The global coarse grains 2021 forecast still stands 1.3% higher year-on-year at 1.501 billion tonnes.

The FAO’s global rice production forecast for 2021 is now pegged at 517.1 million tonnes, up 0.7% from the 2020 record, but 1.3 million tonnes lower than anticipated in December. The revision primarily reflects a less promising official production assessment for China, which, combined with reductions for Nigeria and Nepal, outweighs upgrades to output estimates for Japan and Vietnam.

At 2.805 billion tonnes, world cereal utilization in 2021-22 is forecast to increase by 1.6% from its 2020-21 level, despite a downward revision of 4.5 million tonnes, almost exclusively on feed use, since December.

World cereal stocks at the close of seasons in 2022 have been lifted since December by 2.2 million tonnes, to 824 million tonnes, only slightly lower than their opening levels.

The FAO’s latest forecast for world trade in cereals in 2021-22 stands at a record 481 million tonnes, up 1 million tonnes from December and an increase of 0.4% from the 2020-21 level. World trade in coarse grains in 2021-22 (July/June) is nearly unchanged this month and still points to a 1.5% contraction from the 2020-21 level, reaching 235 million tonnes.

The Food Price Index, a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities, averaged 135.7 points in January 2022, 1.5 points (1.1%) higher than in December 2021. The FFPI's rebound in January was led by solid gains in vegetable oils and dairy sub-indices, partially offset by a decline in sugar prices for the second consecutive month. Meat and cereal sub-indices remained largely unchanged.