Due to the importance of cereals in human nutrition, the United Nations (UN) makes a special monitoring of production and consumption in the world in order to prevent humanitarian catastrophes. In 2014, FAO – the UN Food and Agriculture Organization – reported that global cereal production (including grain rice) amounted to 2,532 million tonnes. Of this world production, almost 1 billion tonnes Corresponded to the harvest maize and 726 million tons to that of wheat. The rest are cereal crops (barley, etc.) and rice.
In the European Union cereals have become, after milk and vegetables, the third most important agricultural production from the economic point of view. In 2014, cereal production increased by 5.9% in volume, while prices fell by 8.3%, according to Commission data published for the purpose of calculating agricultural income. The contribution of this sub-sector represented 13% of all European agricultural production and the countries with the highest production were France (21% with a harvest close to 72 million tonnes), Poland, Germany (14%) and Romania (8% ). The Community cereal crop (excluding rice) in 2014 stood at 323 million tonnes. The biggest crop was soft wheat with 156 million tonnes, followed by corn with 73 million tonnes and barley with 60 million tonnes. In terms of quantity and area, wheat is by far the most popular cereal produced in the EU, accounting for almost 50% of the total cultivated. Of the remaining half, about one third is barley and another third is corn. Nearly two thirds of EU cereals are used for animal feed, and just over one third for human consumption. Only 4% of production is used in the development of so-called biofuels. On the other hand, about 15% of the EU’s annual wheat crop is exported, while large quantities of oilseeds, animal feed and rice have to be imported from third countries. An import regime controls the entry of cereals and rice into the EU.
In Spain, total cereal production (wheat, barley, oats, rye, triticale, maize, sorghum and rice) in 2014 rose to 20.4 million tonnes.

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Montse Gonzalez