"Large inventory levels and relatively sluggish global demand mean that market conditions for staple food grains appear stable for at least another season," said Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesman, at a daily news briefing last week.
Also on April 7, the FAO released its monthly Food Price Index. Overall, the Index rose by one per cent compared to February, as soaring sugar prices and continued increase in palm oil quotations more than offset plunging dairy product prices, he said.
In March, the Index averaged its highest level in 2016, but still some 12 per cent below its level of last year.
The small decline in 2016/17 world cereal production portended by FAO would largely result from a lower worldwide wheat production, which is now expected to amount to 712.7 million tonnes, some 20 million tonnes less than in 2015, said FAO's first forecast for the new season.
The decline mostly reflects smaller plantings in the Russian Federation and Ukraine, both affected by dry weather.
Global output of coarse grains is projected at 1,313 million tonnes, up about 11 million tonnes from 2015, with expected increases in maize production more than offsetting declines for barley and sorghum.
Maize output is seen growing by 1.1 per cent to 1 014 million tonnes, driven by recovering yields in the European Union and expanding plantings in the United States. At the same time, maize production is expected to fall in Southern Africa and Brazil, due to drought and adverse growing conditions associated with El Nino.
World rice production is predicted to recover with a return to normal weather conditions in northern-hemisphere Asia, where erratic rains have affected planting activity for the past two seasons, FAO said.
Global output, although impacted by unattractive prices, is predicted to rise 1.0 per cent to 495 million tonnes.
International trade in cereals in 2016/17, however, is poised to decline for the second consecutive season -- by 1.4 percent to 365 million tonnes -- due to ample stockpiles and modest demand growth in many importing countries.
Global cereal utilization in 2016/17 is foreseen to grow only modestly, rising by around 1.0 per cent to 2 547 million tonnes, according to very preliminary new estimates.