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In Asia, the current outlook for the winter wheat crop, to be harvested from April onwards, is mixed. In China, official sources anticipate a spring drought, following higher than normal winter temperatures, through out the country. Low precipitation is reported to have already harmed the winter crop along the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, coastal areas in the south and parts of the northwest. In India, although an above- average crop is in prospect, early prospects were affected by below normal rainfall over large rainfed areas, though the outlook for the irrigated crop is satisfactory. In Pakistan, the official target for production in 1995/96 is 17.4 million tons, compared to the 17 million tons harvested in the proceeding year. In Syria and Turkey crop prospects are generally satisfactory following normal weather so far. Outputs are likely to be again below-normal in Afghanistan and Iraq mainly due to short supplies of agricultural inputs.

The region harvested a record coarse grains crop in 1995, estimated at some 203 million tons. At this level, the output is higher than anticipated in November and some 6 percent above the average of the past five years. The upward revision is largely attributed to a larger harvest in China than earlier forecast. The outlook for the second coarse grains crop is uncertain because of the likelihood of a spring drought.

FAO's latest forecast for the region's output of paddy in 1995 is 499 million tons, 8 million tons up from 1994, and 1.6 million tons more than the estimate held previously. The increase is mainly in China (Mainland) where paddy output is estimated to have recovered by 6 million tons to 182 million tons, somewhat more than earlier anticipated. Although output from its early crop rose by only 1.32 million tons, official reports indicate that a larger harvest has also been gathered in the intermediate and late rice season. In Myanmar, expanded plantings are expected to produce a bumper crop of about 19.6 million tons. In Bangladesh, floods throughout most of the Aman season have damaged the paddy crop, which is now estimated at slightly less than 8 million tons (milled equivalent), 18 percent below the


Coarse grains
Rice (paddy)
( . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . million tons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .)
Central America
South America
North America
1 947.2
1 890.7
Developing countries
1 090.7
1 120.4
Developed countries


target and 6 percent less than the already poor harvest in the previous year. With both the Aus and Aman crop in the 1995 season sharply reduced, total output in Bangladesh will hinge critically on its ability to expand production from its Boro rice crop, which has just been sown. In India, harvesting of the Kharif paddy crop (which constitutes about 85 percent of India's total output) is virtually complete and official estimates indicate that 70.8 million tons (milled equivalent) have been gathered, 0.6 million tons less than the bumper crop produced in 1994. The Rabi (second) rice crop has been planted under favourable conditions. In the Republic of Korea, poor weather and reduced sowings have brought production down to a 10- year low. In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, tidal waves and heavy rains in July caused extensive flood damage, reducing the 1995 harvest and the already low supplies of foodgrains in the country. In Laos, severe flooding during the growing season is estimated to have destroyed 200 000 tons of rice, decreasing its 1995 output to about 1.4 million tons compared to the 1.7 million tons produced in the previous year.

Elsewhere, no major changes have been made to the crop estimates held in the previous report. In Thailand, the second paddy crop is expected to increase substantially, which would more than offset the decline in the main paddy crop. In Viet Nam, the bulk of the 10th month crop has been harvested. In the north, despite typhoons and torrential rains, 4.5 million tons of the 10th month crop have been reaped, significantly more than in the previous year. Plantings of the winter-spring rice in the south and in the Mekong Delta are underway. For the coming season, the country is aiming at 12 million tons of winter-spring rice, but planting is somewhat less than in the previous year. Reflecting these developments, and assuming normal weather conditions in the coming months, total paddy output in Viet Nam in 1995/96 would be about 25.5 million tons, slightly more than in the previous year.

In the southern hemisphere and around the equatorial belt, the 1996 main paddy crop season is well advanced. In Indonesia, heavy floods have been reported in west Java and Kalimantan, affecting some of the rice crops. For 1996, the country aims to produce a total of 51.2 million tons of paddy compared to the 48.5 million tons produced in 1995. Until recently, overall growing conditions had been favourable and the country has invested substantially in expanding production. In Sri Lanka, drought since October has affected large parts of the country. As a result, the Maha (main) rice crop is expected to be reduced by 21 percent to under 1.4 million tons. The drastic shortfall in rain is also likely to affect the Yala (second) rice crop as water supplies in the irrigation reservoirs are reported to be extremely low.


NORTHERN AFRICA: The aggregate production of cereals in 1995 in the sub-region is estimated at some 22 million tons, about 18 percent less than previous year's above-average harvest. Output of wheat decreased by 22 percent to 8.9 million tons, while the coarse grains crop dropped by 2.5 million tons to 8.3 million tons. These declines were due to marked reductions in Morocco's wheat and barley harvests, which fell by 80 percent and 84 percent respectively; above-normal crops were harvested in Algeria and Egypt. In Tunisia, both wheat and barley crops remained markedly below average for the second successive year. In Egypt, the 1995 paddy crop, at 4.8 million tons was 7 percent more than in the previous year.

Prospects for the 1996 cereal crop have improved in Morocco. Below-normal rains at the beginning of the growing season which delayed plantings in some major producing areas, were followed by heavy rains towards the end of January which increased sharply the level of water reserves. In Algeria and Tunisia, rains continued in January favouring crop emergence and establishment. However, timely rains will be needed for the remainder of the growing season in all countries of the sub-region to ensure a favourable harvest. The area sown to 1996 wheat and barley in Egypt is reported to be slightly higher than in previous year.

WESTERN AFRICA: In western Africa, seasonably dry conditions prevail in the Sahelian zone where generally good crops have been achieved in 1995. In aggregate, output of cereals is estimated at 9.6 million tons, which is below the 1994 record of 10 million tons, but still above average. Record crops have been gathered in The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau; and output was close to previous record levels in Mauritania and Senegal. Production decreased from the 1994 level in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger, but remained above normal. In Cape Verde, the maize crop was average.

In the coastal countries, land preparation is underway for the planting of the first maize crop in February/March. Overall, growing conditions for 1995 cereal crops were favourable in most coastal countries. Cereal production, estimated at 21 million tons for the nine coastal countries, is normal to above- normal, except in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Population displacements and insecurity have severely disrupted agricultural production in these two countries and the harvest estimates are very low. The recently concluded peace process in Liberia has led to an improvement in the food supply situation of the affected population. In Sierra Leone, civil strife is continuing and the transport of food aid from Freetown to the east has stopped, following persisting ambushes on the main roads. A recent survey estimates the number of displaced persons in the region at 2.5 to 3 millions.

Generally favourable weather and high international rice prices have resulted in larger plantings and output of rice in 1995 in many countries in the sub-region. As a result, paddy output in the sub-region is estimated to rise by 0.5 million tons to 6 million tons in 1995. Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana harvested bigger crops and output improved slightly in Senegal over the previous year. In Nigeria, new official estimates of paddy production, indicate that 2.9 million tons were produced in 1995, up from 1994 but substantially smaller than the estimate held previously. By contrast, in Sierra Leone, only 284 000 tons are estimated to have been harvested, 30 percent less than in 1994 as civil war has severely disrupted production. In Liberia, a recent FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission estimated 1995 paddy output at about 60 000 tons, which is around a quarter only of the pre- crisis level.

CENTRAL AFRICA: After generally favourable growing conditions, the harvest of rice and the second maize crop is drawing to an end except in southern Zaire where recently planted coarse grains are growing satisfactorily. One million Rwandan and Burundese refugees are still in Zaire.The government and UNHCR are preparing a new plan for their repatriation.

EASTERN AFRICA: Harvesting of the 1995 wheat crop is completed in Kenya and Ethiopia, while in Sudan the 1996 crop is scheduled to be harvested from March. FAO’s latest forecast of the sub-region‘s 1995 aggregate output is 2.5 million tons, 15 percent above the good volume of the previous year. In Kenya and Ethiopia, production increased by 19 percent to 330 000 tons and 1.6 million tons respectively as a result of expanded plantings and good yields. In Sudan, the 1996 wheat crop is forecast at 530 000 tons, 19 percent up on the 1995 harvest and average.

Harvesting of the 1995 main season coarse grains is completed in the sub- region. Secondary season crops are now being harvested everywhere except in Ethiopia where they are about to be planted. The sub-region's 1995/96 aggregate output is forecast at close to 20 million tons, slightly higher than the above-average volume of last year. In Ethiopia, following favourable weather during the season, an improved distribution of fertilizers and an absence of migratory pests, the main season coarse grain crop, accounting for over 90 percent of the annual production, is estimated to be a record. In Uganda, the main coarse grains harvest was a record 2 million tons and the outlook for the secondary crop, being harvested, is favourable reflecting normal plantings and rain. In Tanzania, cereal production was one third more than the reduced level of the previous year and above average. Prospects for the secondary crop being harvested, are satisfactory as a result of good rains in most of the growing regions. By contrast, in Sudan, production decreased by 29 percent from the previous year’s record to 3.2 million tons which however, is still average. In Kenya, output of the 1995 maize crop is preliminarily estimated at 2.6 million tons, 11 percent down from the record harvest of 1994 but still above average. The outlook for the secondary crop, being harvested, is favourable reflecting abundant rains during the season. In Eritrea the coarse grain harvest was 43 percent less than in 1994 and below average as a result of erratic rains and localized pest damage. Production of coarse grains in the main season in Somalia was also sharply reduced, by severe pest infestation and erratic rains; 1995 aggregate output is forecast at 282 00 tons, one-third less than the previous year’s good level. Prospects for the secondary crop being harvested are favourable reflecting adequate weather conditions and an about-average output is expected. The 1995 coarse grains harvests were reduced in Burundi and Rwanda due to insecurity and population displacements. The 1996 first season coarse grains crops are now being harvested in these countries. In Burundi, production is anticipated to decline from last year reflecting a worsening of security conditions, while in Rwanda the output could be substantially larger than in 1995, but still well below average.

SOUTHERN AFRICA: The aggregate 1995 wheat harvest is estimated at about 2.4 million tons of which 2.3 million tons from South Africa where this year’s crop is expected to be 28 percent higher than in the previous year. In Zimbabwe another below average harvest has been gathered, less than half of the normal volume, reflecting a shortage of irrigation water.

Following the erratic rains and localized droughts during the 1994/95 season, the aggregate coarse grain output is estimated at 10.5 million tons, which is 47 percent lower than in the previous year. This reflects the impact of poor harvests in several countries, particularly in South Africa and Zimbabwe, two of the leading coarse grain producers in the sub-region.

Prospects for the 1996 coarse grains crop are favourable so far and a recovery in output is anticipated. While dry conditions prevailed over most of Malawi and Mozambique in October and early November, scattered rains were received in parts of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In December the rains set in throughout the sub-region and have been abundant in most countries. Dry conditions persisted only in Namibia, which started to receive planting rains only in January 1996. Initial indications are that the area under maize in South Africa, by far the largest producer of coarse grains in the sub-region, will be well up from last year’s drought-reduced level but may still be below average. In Angola, given generally good rains and the relatively peaceful conditions prevailing across the country, it is estimated that more land has come under cultivation this year compared to previous years. Overall, if the current rainfall pattern continues up to March, harvests in the sub-region are expected to improve substantially from last year’s below average levels.

The 1996 paddy crop season is well advanced in the sub-region. In Madagascar, prospects for the 1996 crop are uncertain as heavy rains following the onslaught of cyclones in January have damaged large areas of crop land.


Prospects are poor for the recently planted 1995/96 wheat crop in Mexico, virtually the sole producer of the sub-region. Harvesting is due to start from April and early forecasts put 1996 production at 3.6 million tons, down from last year's 4.2 million tons. This is mostly the result of reduced plantings and anticipated lower yields, largely due to adverse weather at planting and higher input and financing costs caused by the devaluation of the currency.

Harvesting of the 1995 second season coarse grain crops has been completed in most countries. Despite normal to above-normal outputs, particularly in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, aggregate 1995 coarse grain output (both seasons) in the sub-region is estimated to have declined from 25.7 million tons in 1994 to only 23.1 million tons. The decrease mainly reflects Mexico's poor maize and sorghum crops, which were affected by extremely bad weather compounded by financial constraints experienced by farmers. In the Caribbean area, planting of the third season maize and sorghum crops in the Dominican Republic is underway for harvesting from April, and aggregate production for the whole year is forecast to be above average. In Cuba, a slightly below-normal maize output has been gathered. In Haiti, harvesting of the second season sorghum output has been completed and a normal output is estimated. The country's aggregate 1995 coarse grain production is estimated to be slightly above average.

The 1995 paddy output in the sub-region was slightly above the previous year's low level, largely because of a significant rise in production in the Dominican Republic. Elsewhere, production was generally poor. In Cuba, paddy output remained low because of the lack of inputs. In Mexico, output from the main crop was cut-back by 7 percent to 309 000 tons.


Harvesting of the 1995 wheat crop is complete and output for the sub-region is estimated at 13 million tons, almost 17 percent down from the previous year and well below average. The decline principally reflects Argentina's reduced output of 9 million tons from 11.1 million tons in the previous year. In Brazil, production fell from 2.1 million tons to a low of 1.7 million tons, largely as a consequence of reduced plantings and the lower use of fertilizers due to credit restrictions. In Chile and Uruguay, slightly below-average outputs are estimated. In the Andean countries, the area planted to the 1996 main season wheat crop in Bolivia is estimated to be close to last year's above-average level. In Ecuador a normal 1995 aggregate output was gathered and planting conditions of the 1996 main season wheat crop to be started from February are favourable. In Peru, an above-average output, close to the 1994 volume, has been harvested. In Colombia, harvesting of the second season crop has started under normal conditions and production is anticipated to be normal.

Generally very dry weather in November/December adversely affected plantings of the 1996 coarse grain crops in the main growing southern areas of the sub-region and an overall reduction in output is anticipated. In Argentina, the area planted to maize increased, but yields are anticipated to fall low due to moisture shortages. Early forecasts put production at about 10.8 million tons, compared to 11 million tons in 1995. In Brazil, harvesting of the 1996 maize crop is about to start and production is also expected to decrease from last year's record 36.2 million tons to a still above-average 32 million tons. The increase reflects insufficient rain and the use of lower quality seeds. In Uruguay and Chile, normal to above-normal maize outputs are anticipated. In Bolivia, the outlook is good for the coarse grain crops, to be harvested from April, provided the favourable weather persists. In Ecuador, where sowing of the 1996 main season maize crop is underway, the area planted is forecast to be close to the 1995 above-normal level. In Peru, maize plantings for 1996 are expected to be close to last year's good area. By contrast, in Colombia, aggregate maize output (both seasons) is forecast to decrease from the normal outturn of the previous year. In Venezuela, land is being prepared for planting of the 1996 maize and sorghum crops to start in April.

The 1995 paddy crop season is virtually over in the region with the exception of a few countries around the Equatorial belt, principally Colombia and Guyana. In Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay, the 1996 paddy season is well advanced. The forecast output of paddy in Brazil, the largest producer and consumer in the region, has been lowered somewhat to reflect reduced plantings in Rio Grande do Sul. A fall in the producer support price for paddy and a substantial increase in fertilizer prices are among the main reasons for a decline in plantings in the country. By contrast, in Argentina, high international rice prices and preferential arrangements under MERCOSUR have prompted a further expansion in the area devoted to rice. In 1996, about 200 841 hectares have been planted, 9 percent more than in 1995.


In the United States, the final official estimate for the 1995 wheat crop is 59.5 million tons, 3.7 million tons below the previous year’s output but still about the average of the past five years.

Prospects for the 1996 winter wheat crop, which accounts for about 75 percent of the country’s total wheat output are mixed. Confirming earlier expectations, plantings were increased by 7 percent, but conditions for crops have been far from ideal in many parts. Moisture was scarce in the major producing areas after planting in October and November, resulting in poor development, and thus higher vulnerability of plants to adverse weather during the winter period. In late January, freezing temperatures and severe winds hit a large area of the Kansas wheat plains causing significant damage to crops. However, it is still too early to assess the effect of this damage and the consequences for this year’s wheat crop as much will depend on the weather during the remainder of the season.

In Canada, latest estimates put the aggregate 1995 wheat crop at 25.4 million tons, 2.3 million tons above the previous year’s crop but still well below the volume in the early 1990s before farmers shifted a substantial area of land to oilseed crops. However, because of this year’s attractive wheat prices, early indications point to a significant increase in wheat plantings in May-June for the major 1996 crop, with a shift of land back from oilseeds.

The final official estimate of the 1995 coarse grain crop in the United States is 209.6 million tons, 75.5 million tons down from the previous year’s record crop and below the average of the past five years. Of the total, maize is estimated to account for some 187 million tons. As regards the 1996 maize crops to be planted this spring, the Area Reduction Programme (ARP) has been set at zero percent, against 7.5 percent in the previous year. In addition, farmers with land set-aside under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) whose contracts were due to expire on 30 September this year can opt out of the program in time for spring planting. Although it is still very uncertain exactly how much land will come back into production following these policy revisions, it is clear that the maize area could increase substantially from the previous year. However, much will depend on the weather at planting time.

In Canada, aggregate output of coarse grains increased in 1995 by about 1 million tons but remained somewhat above the average of the past five years. As for wheat, the bulk of the 1996 coarse grains will not be planted until the spring.

In the United States, the 1995 paddy output totalled some 7.9 million tons, 1.1 million tons less than in 1994 largely because of a reduction in plantings and poor weather conditions during harvest. Discussions are underway on the rice production support programme for 1996 and the coming years. Planting of the 1996 paddy crop in the United States starts around April.


FAO’s latest estimate of the 1995 aggregate cereal production in the region is 272.9 million tons, 10 million tons up from the output in 1994. Output increased in the EC as a whole and in some eastern European countries, Poland and Romania in particular. The region’s production of wheat is put at 124.5 million tons compared to 120.4 million tons in the previous year, while that of coarse grains is put at 146.1 million tons compared to 140.1 million tons in 1994. Paddy output remained unchanged at about 2.3 million tons.

Early prospects for the EC’s 1996 cereal crops are generally satisfactory and crops are reported to be mostly in good condition so far. Winter wheat plantings are reported to have increased significantly in the EC's major producers following reduction of area restrictions and favourable autumn weather. In France, the soft wheat area is forecast to expand by 6 percent, while an increase of 3 percent is projected in both Germany and the United Kingdom. In Spain, heavy rains in December have given hope that a devastating five- year drought may have ended, and greatly improved prospects for winter crops and spring sowing.

In eastern parts of the region, the winter grain area is estimated to have increased by about 4.6 percent in Poland. Generally good snowcover protected winter wheat and rye crops from freezing temperatures in December and early January, but the winter barley crop is reported to have suffered some significant frost damage. In Hungary, after a poor autumn weather, conditions during the winter so far have been satisfactory. Good snow cover protected dormant crops from severe frosts in late December and will ensure that ample soil moisture is available for developing crops this spring. In Romania, prospects for the winter wheat and rye crops remain satisfactory despite some harsh winter weather and severe flooding over the past month. However, there is now rising concern over the slow pace of land preparation for spring sowing (mainly maize and sunflowers). In Bulgaria, the winter wheat area is estimated to have increased by some 18 percent from the previous year, to about 1.1 million hectares while winter barley plantings remained virtually unchanged.

In Croatia, despite favourable growing conditions, the 1996 wheat crop is anticipated to decline from last year’s good level reflecting a decrease of 9 percent in the area planted. The early forecast points also to a fall in wheat production in the Yugoslav Federal Republic (Serbia and Montenegro) because of a reduction in the area planted due to diversion of land to industrial crops and shortages of agricultural inputs. By contrast, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, production of wheat is expected to increase as a result of expanded plantings, mainly in central parts. In Slovenia, prospects for the wheat crop are favourable. In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, this year’s wheat crop is expected to recover from the reduced level of 1995.

In the Baltics, where the 1995 grain harvest is estimated by FAO at 3.4 million tons, 12 percent less than in the previous year mainly due to reduced plantings, the early outlook for winter cereals is satisfactory. Plantings are estimated to have increased in response to higher world prices and reduced availability of grains in the neighbouring countries.


Latest official estimates have put the 1995 cereal and pulse harvest in the CIS at only 123 million tons, 16 percent less than in the preceding year. Output of wheat, estimated at 58.5 million tons declined marginally (-1.3 mt); that of coarse grains fell sharply (- 20 million tons) to 60 million tons; paddy by over 10 percent to 1.3 million tons and pulses by 30 percent to nearly 4 million tons. However there are many indications that the 1995 harvest may have been underestimated and actual production could be even 10 percent higher.

The early outlook for the 1996 cereal and pulse crop in the CIS is more encouraging than last year. Higher cereal prices and good weather at planting time have stimulated farmers to increase the area sown to winter grains and that ploughed prior to the winter for planting in the spring. To date crop conditions in the major states are better than at the corresponding time last year. In the Russian Federation the area sown to winter crops is estimated to have risen by 1.1 million hectares to 15.3 million hectares and that ploughed for spring sowing by 1.5 million hectares to 41.1 million hectares. The 1996 production target is 77-80 million tons, substantially above the 63.5 million tons officially estimated for 1995. In the Ukraine and Belarus, the area sown to winter grains is reported to have increased by 4 percent to 7.1 and 1.1 million hectares respectively. In Kazakhstan, plantings of the (minor) winter crop and autumn ploughing in preparation for planting of the main crop in the spring increased. In Georgia, most of the land for grain production in state farms has been leased out to private farmers and output could recover somewhat despite shortages of inputs, particularly seeds. Elsewhere, the winter cereal area has probably remained fairly stable except in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, where seed shortages have limited plantings.


1/ The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) includes 12 member states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Ukraine and Uzbekistan).


Australia’s 1995 winter wheat crop is estimated to be sharply up from the previous year’s drought reduced level following generally favourable growing conditions throughout the growing season. The latest official forecast (5 December 1995) puts wheat output at 17.1 million tons, slightly up from earlier forecasts and 92 percent up from the previous year. The winter barley crop is forecast at 5.6 million tons, which would also be about double the previous year’s crop. The 1996 summer sorghum crop has continued to develop well following good rainfall in the major eastern growing regions in late December and January. Although a high occurrence of locusts in New South Wales and Queensland is giving rise to some concern, no significant damage has yet been reported and authorities are closely monitoring the situation to take controlling action if required. Production is now expected to increase to over 1 million tons from some 900 000 tons in the previous year.

The 1996 paddy season in Australia is well advanced. Good rains in November/December have boosted crop prospects and output of paddy is forecast at 1.2 million tons, up 7 percent from the previous year.

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