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close this bookThe world sorghum and millet economies: facts, trends and outlook. (1996)
close this folderPart I. Sorghum
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentProduction trends
View the documentUtilization
View the documentStocks
View the documentInternational Trade
View the documentInternational market prices
View the documentInternal marketing and domestic policies
View the documentTechnological change, environmental issues and focus of research
View the documentMedium-term outlook7
View the documentSummary and conclusions

Medium-term outlook7

[7. Covers the period 1992-94 to 2005. The supply outlook is based on estimates of future area and yields projected from recent trends, with some adjustments based on judgement of how individual countries are likely to perform, assuming no major policy changes. Demand projections are based on United Nations population projections and World Bank income growth rates.]

Production and utilization

World sorghum production is projected to grow at 1.2 percent per year, from 64 million tons per year during 1992-94 to 74 million tons in the year 2005 (Table 8). This notwithstanding, per caput production at the global level - and more important, in countries where it is a vital food security crop - will decline because population will grow faster than production (Table 9).

At the global level, utilization patterns for sorghum are not expected to change substantially over the medium term - the crop will continue to be used primarily for food in Africa and Asia and for animal feed elsewhere. However, there are important regional differences. Food sorghum consumption will grow by about 15 percent between 1992-94 and 2005, driven by a 39 percent increase in Africa. By contrast, food utilization in Asia is expected to drop by 8 percent, in continuation of the current trend.

The feed industry will continue to be dominated by Group II countries. However, the projected 17 percent increase in global feed sorghum utilization will come not from the developed countries, where feed use is expected to drop by 10 percent, but from emerging feed sorghum markets in Asia and Latin America.

Table 8. Projected sorghum production, demand and trade ('000 tons), 1992-94 to 2005.


Actual (1992-94 average)

Projected (2005)


Production

Total use

Food use

Feed use

Trade gap1

Production

Total use

Food use

Feed use

Trade gap1

Developing countries

44,239

46,679

26,371

14,762

-2440

53,251

58,327

30,343

21,550

-5076

Africa

17,075

16,889

12,660

1,197

186

23,764

21,946

17,633

2,390

1818


Northern Africa

4,099

3,761

2,579

758

338

5,925

5,665

3,556

1,568

260


Western Africa

9,256

9,361

6,944

341

-105

12,861

13,245

9,843

662

-384


Central Africa

894

925

779

7

-31

1,100

1,120

945

13

-20


Eastern Africa

2,753

2,747

2,276

87

6

3,780

3,784

3,172

142

-4


Southern Africa

73

94

82

4

-21

98

131

116

5

-33

Asia

17,975

18,089

13,244

2,973

-114

18,035

19,674

12,172

5,815

-1639


Near East

639

959

459

471

-320

1,007

1,343

648

658

-336


Far East

17,337

17,129

12,785

2,502

208

17,028

18,031

11,524

5,157

-1003

Central America and the Caribbean

4,954

8,265

431

7,504

-3311

6,348

9,363

499

9,123

-3015

South America

4,234

3,437

36

3,088

797

5,104

4,645

38

4,223

459

Developed countries

19,659

16,805

318

15,807

2854

20,569

15,359

370

14,281

5210

World

63,898

63,484

26,689

30,569

414

73,820

73,820

30,713

35,831

134

1. Production minus utilization.

Source: FAO/ICRISAT

Global feed use is projected to increase from 31 million tons in 1992-94 to 36 million tons by the year 2005. All the expansion is expected to take place in the developing countries, where feed use is projected to rise by 3.2 percent per annum. Asia and Latin America will each account for about 40 percent of the increase in developing countries; growth is expected to be particularly strong in Mexico, Argentina, China and to a lesser extent in India. Africa, where feed demand is expected to double by 2005, but from a lower base-value, will account for the remainder. However, Africa's performance will depend on the success of harvests in Egypt and Sudan.

Growth in sorghum demand by 2005 is therefore expected to come from three main sources:

· food use in Africa, fuelled by population growth;

· feed use in Asia, as the livestock industry intensifies in response to rising incomes;

· feed use in Latin America and the Caribbean, as the already highly developed feed industry continues to grow.

One important trend is that the distinction between Group I and Group II will become blurred, as feed markets in developing countries grow. Even so, the crop will remain an essential component of food security in many developing countries, particularly in low-rainfall areas.

In the developing countries, production is projected to grow at 1.6 percent per annum from 44 million tons in 1992-94 to 53 million tons in 2005, the rise primarily concentrated in Africa (Tables 8 and 9). This growth will largely result from yield increases, projected at 1.2 percent per annum, from 1.1 t/ha in 1992-94 to 1.4 t/ha in 2005. However, there are important regional differences in growth patterns. In Africa, growth will be driven by increases in both area and yield (the latter despite the fact that much of the expansion will be into marginal lands). In Asia, the area is projected to decline at 1.5 percent per annum as production shirts to other crops. However, production will continue to be maintained by increasing yields.

Between 1992-94 and 2005, food sorghum consumption in developing countries is projected to increase from 26 million to over 30 million tons. During this period, Asia's share of world food sorghum consumption will fall from 50 to 40 percent, while Africa's share will rise from 47 to 57 percent, reflecting its continued dependence on sorghum as a food security crop. Food sorghum utilization in Africa is projected to rise by almost 5 million tons, or just under 40 percent. However, even this substantial increase will still be slower than population growth, leading to a slight fall in per caput consumption.

The medium-term outlook for sorghum (and, therefore, its continued contribution to food security) in Africa will depend on how effectively productivity can be raised by removing various constraints. In Asia, the future will be determined largely by consumption patterns, including changing food preferences, and their effect on producer profitability and consumer demand. In Latin America, the key issues will be continued growth of the livestock feed industry and the competitiveness of sorghum relative to maize, determined by environmental and technological factors and the policies governing these two competing crops.

Table 9. Sorghum projected growth rates, 1992-94 to 2005.

Area (%/yr)

Yield (%/yr)

Production (%/yr)

Per caput production (%/yr)

Utilization






Total (%/yr)

Food (%/yr)

Feed (%/yr)

Developing countries

0.3

1.2

1.6

-0.3

1.8

1.2

3.2

Africa

1.4

1.4

2.8

-0.2

2.9

2.8

5.9


Northern Africa

1.8

1.3

3.1

0.8

3.5

2.7

6.2


Western Africa

1.3

1.5

2.8

-0.5

2.9

3.0

5.7


Central Africa

1.1

0.6

1.7

-1.4

1.6

1.6

4.7


Eastern Africa

1.2

1.5

2.7

-0.6

2.7

2.8

4.2


Southern Africa

2.4

0.1

2.5

-0.6

2.8

2.9

1.9

Asia

-1.5

1.6

0.0

-1.6

0.7

-0.7

5.7


Near East

2.6

1.2

3.9

1.2

2.8

2.9

2.8


Far East

-1.7

1.6

-0.1

-1.7

0.4

-0.9

6.2

Central America and the Caribbean

1.3

0.8

2.1

0.2

1.0

1.2

1.6


South America

0.9

0.6

1.6

-0.1

2.5

0.6

2.6

Developed countries

0.0

0.4

0.4

-0.1

-0.7

1.3

-0.8

World

0.3

0.9

1.2

-0.4

1.2

1.2

1.3

Source: FAO/ICRISAT

Sorghum production in the developed countries is projected to increase only marginally between 1992-94 and 2005 (Tables 8 and 9). This growth will come almost entirely from productivity increases, with area likely to remain at the current level of 5 million hectares. The current decline in feed utilization is expected to continue, due to strong competition from maize and other coarse grains, and because the demand for livestock products, and thus for feed grains in general, is levelling off.

In the United States, which produces roughly 90 percent of the developed countries' sorghum, approximately 18 million tons will be produced in 2005 compared to 17.5 million tons during 1992-94. However, two factors could lead to an increase in sorghum area in the United States:

· declining groundwater levels in the drier parts of the Great Plains, which could encourage farmers to replace less drought-resistant crops with sorghum;

· new legislation that puts sorghum nearly back to full market competition with other cereals.

It is possible that these factors, together with moderate yield increases, will help arrest the decline in sorghum production in the developed countries.

Trade

World trade in sorghum is projected to recover slightly by the year 2005, on the assumption that China is going to cover part of its expected overall increase of coarse grain import requirements with sorghum8. Among the developing countries, the Far East will turn from a net exporter (0.2 million tons during 1992-94) to a net importer of about 1 million tons by the year 2005 (Table 8). Changes in the trade volume of other developing regions including Latin America and Africa are likely to be minimal.

[8. Source: Impact of the Uruguay Round on Agriculture, FAO, Rome 1995.]

Mexico is projected to maintain its current position as the leading sorghum importer at a volume of around 4 million tons per annum. However, Mexico's import demand will depend on domestic policy and on the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Under NAFTA, there will be a continuous increase in the import quota for maize at a reduced customs tariff. Sorghum imports are still duty-free, but this advantage will gradually become eroded.

The developed countries will continue to supply most of the global exports and satisfy a large part of the projected additional imports, especially if the expected partial recovery of production in the United States occurs. Imports by Japan, currently the second largest importer, will continue to fall, in line with its current tendency to import livestock products rather than feed grains.