Rice output in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam is forecast to fall this year but stay above five-year averages in Cambodia and Thailand, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).
In a quarterly report released in Rome late Monday, the FAO forecast Cambodia’s output at 11.5 million tonnes this year, down from 11.7 million last year but above the five-year average of 11.1 million.
Production is forecast at 32.8 million tonnes in Thailand, down from 33.2 million and above the average of 31.8 million, and 42.8 million tonnes in Vietnam, down from 43.9 million but below the average of 43.4 million.
Elsewhere in East and South Asia, the UN agency forecast below-average production in North Korea, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka — “mainly due to limited availability and high prices of agricultural inputs” — as well as
Bhutan, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea. But above-average output is forecast for Bangladesh, India and China.
For corn, the FAO forecast “bumper outputs” in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines but below-average production in Vietnam.
GROWING ACUTE FOOD INSECURITY
The FAO said acute food insecurity — no food for a day or more — had risen in East and South Asia this year.
“The aggregate number of people facing acute food insecurity has increased since early 2022, particularly in countries that rely heavily on food imports considering the high international prices of basic food commodities.
“Elevated international and domestic prices of fertilisers and energy have driven up production costs, contributing to higher domestic food prices.
“The depreciation of the national currencies in many importing countries has made imports costlier,” the UN agency said, highlighting increasing food inflation rates in Laos, Mongolia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The FAO said food insecurity was expected to “worsen” in Pakistan following recent floods and possibly also North Korea amid economic constraints and expectations for a reduced harvest this year.
In Bangladesh, food insecurity “remains fragile” for about a million refugees from Myanmar. In Myanmar itself, the political crisis “continues to compromise the already difficult food security situation,” the FAO said.
For the whole of Asia, nine countries need external assistance for food — including North Korea and Sri Lanka, both suffering “widespread lack of access to food”, and Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan which face “severe localized food insecurity,” the UN agency said.
Source: Agency Kampuchea Press