SANTIAGO, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The regional office of the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Chile on Wednesday released a report forecasting a drop in rice, coarse grain, soybean and sugar production in Latin America this year.
It said Latin American and Caribbean rice production will suffer a 1.5-percent drop in total output to around 18.6 million tons for the year.
Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Uruguay and Venezuela will all harvest less rice than in 2017, which will not be compensated by projected production rises in Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Paraguay and Peru.
Sugar production is expected to decline for 2017-2018 amid severe weather in Argentina and a higher percentage of Brazil's sugarcane harvest is destined for ethanol production.
Wheat imports to Latin America and the Caribbean will increase by 1 million tons to around 25 million tons, with Brazil and Mexico purchasing the bulk of the share.
Steep drops in the production of coarse grains are expected for Argentina and Brazil, where maize harvests will fall 15 percent from the record highs in 2017.
The report indicated that soybean production will contract 9 percent in South America after the negative effects of severe weather in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, which will outweigh the gains made in Brazil's production.
Brazil looks set to replace the United States as the third largest soybean oil supplier while keeping its spot as the world's top supplier of poultry meat and meal.