Global rice production for 2012 is expected to outpace consumption, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced Monday, adding that improved weather patterns in Africa and Asia had contributed to the rebound in rice inventories.
According to a new estimate released by FAO's Rice Market Monitor, this year's global rice production will see an increase from the UN agency's initial July forecast by 4.2 million tonnes to 729 million tonnes with prospects improving not only for India, where the revival of mid-August monsoon rains have allayed fears of drought, but also for Egypt, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Philippines, the United States and Viet Nam.
"Compared to last year, world rice carryover stocks are expected to rise by seven percent, or 10 million tonnes, to a new high of almost 170 tonnes, marking the eight consecutive year of stock accumulation," FAO stated in a news release.
In Asia, where rice is the staple food, projections see rice paddy output up by 0.8 per cent on 2011, with "widespread gains and particularly large increases" in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam.
"Increasing rice production in Asia means that the region that consumes the most rice will not need to import so much of it," FAO said.
Better weather in Africa is also leading the continent to experience a four per cent increase in rice production on 2011. The FAO news release noted that much of the growth would come from Egypt, where attractive prices have prompted farmers to exceed their cultivation limits, but also from Mali, Ghana, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Nigeria.
However, despite the overall gains, the UN food agency warned that some countries - in particular, Cambodia, the Republic of Korea, Nepal, and Turkey - could still expect declines in rice production, while other regions would be completely affected by downward trends.
"The outlook for rice production in Latin America and the Caribbean points to a six per cent contraction," FAO said, adding that "insufficient irrigation water and expectations of low margins depressed rice cultivation in many South American countries."