PERU (8 February)
Planting of 2005 yellow maize crop is underway in the departments of Cajamarca, Apurimac and Cusco, while the bulk of the planting of white maize crop has already been completed. Planting of 2005 paddy is about to start in northern departments of Piura and Lambayeque, where precipitations are highly needed in order to restore the adequate level of water in reservoirs of Poechos and Tinajones. Water shortages are reported also in water reservoir of Condoroma in southern department of Arequipa. Cereal production in 2004 has been affected by the severe dry weather conditions that prevailed in the north of the country at the beginning of the year. Paddy production in 2004 is estimated at 1.8 million tonnes, well below the record output of more than 2.1 million tonnes obtained in 2003 and 2002. The low level of northern water reservoirs from January to March 2004 reduced plantings of about 50 000 hectares in key producing departments of Lambayeque and Piura, that was only partially compensated by an increase of 22 000 hectares planted in the Amazonian department of San Martin. A reduction of about 13 percent compared to previous year is also expected for the aggregate (yellow and white) 2004 maize production, with major losses in La Libertad and Ancash departments.
Wheat and maize imports in marketing year 2005 (January/December) are forecast at about 1.4 and 1 million tonnes respectively, with a slight increase compared with the previous year due to 2004 reduced domestic production and to the increasing domestic demand.