FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages No.1, March 2001


ARGENTINA (20 February)

An estimated 6.3 to 6.4 million hectares of wheat were harvested in the 2000 campaign. Total output is estimated to be between 15.5 and 16.5 million tonnes, a volume higher than originally estimated despite the heavy January rains during harvest in the important producing province of Buenos Aires. The area planted with maize in 2000/01 is some 3.1 million hectares (according to official estimates of mid January). So far the rains have helped the development of maize. The harvest is due from March and the crop looks in good conditions. About 787 000 hectares of sorghum are also being planted, and early forecasts indicate an output of 3.5 million tonnes. The area planted with paddy is though to be slightly lower than last year (175 000 hectares compared to 195 000 hectares in year 2000), and the early forecast stands at 846 000 tonnes.

BOLIVIA (20 February)

The government declared the state of emergency in the departments of La Paz, Cochabamba, Oruro and Beni after rains above the historic average during the rainy season caused localised floods and mud slides of various intensities. Food aid is being distributed to the affected population by the international community. No detailed assessment of the damages caused by the rains on the crops is yet available. Drought has also been reported in some areas, and the international community is also poviding them with food assistance. Enlarged plantings were earlier reported for most cereals and the forecasts pointed to an increase in production. Maize production is provisionally estimated at some 700 000 tonnes in year 2000, and sorghum at about 135 000 tonnes. An estimated 135 000 hectares of paddy have been planted to be collected in April/May, and early forecast indicate an output of about 324 000 tonnes for year 2001.

BRAZIL (2 February)

Land is being prepared for wheat planting in April/May. Maize planting was delayed in east-central Brazil because of reduced soil moisture, but latest reports indicate that the total area cultivated increased by 10 per cent relative to last year’s. The first season maize crop, which accounts for up to 90 percent of total maize production, is benefiting from good weather conditions in the largest producing state of Paraná and elsewhere in central-south Brazil. No estimates are yet available for the area to be planted in the second season maize crop. The area currently planted with paddy is estimated at 3.55 million hectares, which is somewhat smaller than last year because of credit constraints and low international prices for rice and total production is currently forecast to remain at last year’s level of some 11.4 million tonnes.

CHILE (2 February)

Harvesting of the 2000/01 wheat crop is on the way and, weather permitting, total production is expected to be about 1.5 million tonnes. The area cultivated with maize in the current campaign is slightly higher than last year’s, and the crop is developing under normal weather conditions. Early forecasts indicate that production is likely to reach 700 000 tonnes (autumn 2000 plantings).

Wheat imports in marketing year 2000/01 (July/June) are likely to decline slightly and are expected to be some 550 000 tonnes. Maize imports are forecast to increase slightly.

COLOMBIA (2 February)

Normal weather conditions are allowing both the harvest of the second season maize crop of year 2000, and land preparation for the forthcoming 2001 April/May first season maize crop. Water availability in the country’s northern Caribbean coastal areas is also helping the sowing of the 2001 February season paddy crops.

Wheat imports for marketing year 2000/01 (July/June) are estimated to be similar to last year’s 1.15 million tonnes, and maize imports (mostly for feed) is also expected to be some 1.65 million tonnes.

ECUADOR (2 February)

Planting of the yellow (winter) maize crop will continue until April, but above-average rains in central and southern coastal areas have delayed some of the farming activities. Maize production for year 2000 is estimated to recover to about 570 000 tonnes. Planting of winter paddy crops (rain fed) is progressing, and water availability gives good prospects for year 2001.

Wheat imports for marketing year 2000/01 (July/June) stand at last year’s level of 490 000 tonnes. Maize imports are forecast to decrease from last year’s 170 000 to some 110 000 tonnes.

PERU (2 February)

Water reservoirs in the north and south coast are considered adequate for the requirements of the main cereal crops. Most of the 2001 wheat crop has been sown, and a reduction in the number of hectares planted has been observed compared to the previous campaign. Reduced plantings of white maize are also being noted, and the total area cultivated for the 2001 agricultural campaign is expected to be about 15 percent smaller than last year’s. The area planted with yellow maize continues to increase, and early forecasts indicate that it could be even higher than 10 percent (last year, Peru planted some 268 000 hectares). Paddy planting is progressing, and the area is expected to be similar to last year’s level.

Wheat imports in marketing year 2000/01 (July/June) are expected to be 1.2 million tonnes. Maize imports 2000/01 (July/June) are expected to decrease to some 900 000 tonnes.

URUGUAY (2 February)

Prolonged rains during the cultivation of the 2000 wheat campaign affected planting and did not allow a complete recovery from last year’s drought affected crop. Wheat production was estimated to be some 400 000 tonnes. Wheat planting intentions in the year 2001 are estimated to decrease to about 150 000 hectares compared to last year’s 196 000. The summer rains are favouring the normal growth of coarse grain crops, and outputs are expected to recover to 1999 levels. Normal weather conditions are also favouring paddy crops, and total output is estimated to be similar to last year’s some 1.1 million tonnes.

VENEZUELA (2 February)

Weather is back to normal after heavy rains during November forced the government to temporarily declare the state of emergency in states north and west of Caracas. The conditions are currently adequate for the preparation of soils for planting the 20001/02 cereal crops. The area planted with maize is expected to be similar to last year’s level of some 373 000 hectares, but below the five year average (400 000 hectares). Paddy production is expected to remain at last year’s level of 750 000 tonnes.

Cereal imports are expected to remain similar to last year’s, with about 1.28 million tonnes of wheat and 1.3 million tonnes of yellow maize.

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