FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages No.5, November 2002 - Page 1

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AFRICA: In eastern Africa, serious food difficulties have emerged in Eritrea and Ethiopia due to poor harvests. Elsewhere in the sub-region, notwithstanding improved overall food supply, localized food production shortfalls have increased the number of people requiring food assistance. In southern Africa, the food supply situation is very serious, particularly in rural and urban areas of Zimbabwe. There is need to expedite both commercial and food aid imports to prevent a full-scale famine. In west Africa, the food situation is extremely serious in Mauritania, following three consecutive poor harvests, while emergency food assistance is needed in Côte d'Ivoire, following a resurgence of civil strife.

ASIA: Donor pledges are urgently needed to meet emergency food requirements for DPR Korea in the months immediately ahead, while relief also continues to be required in a number of countries for vulnerable people affected by floods, storms and drought, notably in Bangladesh, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Cereal harvests this year in the CIS countries of Asia have significantly recovered. However, food supply in Tajikistan and Georgia remains rather tight.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: Food assistance is being provided in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to rural families affected by the severe crisis which has hit the coffee sector. The western parts of Cuba and most of Jamaica have been affected by hurricanes "Isidore" and "Lili". Damage to important cash crops is reported. Food assistance is also being provided in Haiti to farmers in the southern departments affected by adverse weather. In Paraguay, emergency relief, including food aid, is being delivered to rural families in the western parts affected by drought.

EUROPE: Weather conditions this autumn have been generally satisfactory in the EU for the winter grain planting. Throughout most of eastern Europe, widespread autumn rains have improved soil moisture conditions for the germinating winter grains and the early prospects for crops are generally more favourable than last year at the same time. Cereal output in the European CIS countries this year is estimated to match the bumper harvest of the preceding year.

NORTH AMERICA: Winter wheat planting is virtually complete in the United States and the condition of emerging crops is on the whole better than at the same time last year. In Canada, output of cereals in 2002 has fallen sharply following severe drought in parts. Output of wheat is officially estimated at 15.5 million tonnes, about 25 percent down from last year while that of coarse grains is put at 19.8 million tonnes, 13 percent down from 2001.

OCEANIA: The 2002 wheat crop in Australia is forecast at just 10.1 million tonnes, 58 percent below the previous year's near record crop after sever drought during the growing season. The winter barley crop is likewise expected to fall sharply. Papua New Guinea is experiencing a severe drought which has caused water shortages especially in urban areas.

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