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The outlook for the region’s 1996 wheat crop, being harvested or about to be harvested, remains favourable. Output is provisionally forecast at 232 million tons, marginally higher than last year’s above average harvest. In China, higher procurement prices and a small increase in plantings are expected to result in an above-average crop, similar to last year’s 105 million tons. Planting of the spring wheat crop, which accounts for about 12 percent of total output, was favoured in recent weeks by drier weather across the North Plain, which also favoured planting of other summer crops. In India, where harvest operations are near completion, an exceptionally good harvest above last year’s record crop of 65 million tons is in prospect. A bumper crop, some 6 percent above last year’s record harvest of 17 million tons is also in prospect in Pakistan due to favourable rainfall and higher support prices, whilst in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Bangladesh, production is projected to be above average though somewhat lower than last year. In Afghanistan production is expected to be again limited reflecting short supplies of agricultural inputs and insecurity. Serious shortages of spare parts for agricultural machinery and other agricultural inputs will restrict grains output in Iraq. In Saudi Arabia the area sown to wheat is estimated to have markedly reduced reflecting Government measures to cut subsidized output. An above-average production is likely in both Syria and Turkey.

The region’s output of coarse grains in 1996 is provisionally forecast at 196 million tons, slightly higher than last year’s harvest. The planting of 1996 main coarse grain crops is underway in some parts, though the bulk will be planted at the onset of the south-west monsoon in June. Although, early prospects are favourable, yields will depend crucially on the overall performance of the south-west monsoon during the season. In China, a record coarse grain harvest is expected this year due to an increase in area planted and higher procurement prices. In India, the 1996 coarse grain target has been set at 35.6 million tons, similar to last year. In Pakistan, this year’s coarse grains plantings are likely to be about average and similar to 1995, whilst in Thailand a slight reduction in planted area is anticipated.

In China, planting of the 1996 early rice is advanced. Soil moisture in the southern provinces is adequate for the sowing of this crop, but in April, abnormally cold weather has affected some areas in the south. At this stage of crop development, and especially as the bulk of China's paddy output comes from its intermediate and late rice season, it is only possible to provide a very tentative forecast of total paddy output in the country. Government efforts to raise output, however, continue to be vigorous. Many provinces reported big increases in their procurement support prices for paddy, although shortages of chemical fertilizers were reported in some provinces. In Indonesia, harvesting of the wet season rice crop in Java is advanced and conditions are reported to be favourable. Despite flood damage to the crop early in the year, official indications are that nearly 50 million tons of paddy would be harvested, 1.4 million tons up from the previous year. However, the moisture content of the rice harvest is reported to be abnormally high which could affect its storage life. In


Wheat Coarse grains Rice (paddy) Total
1995 1996 1995 1996 1995 1996 1995 1996
( . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . million tons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . )
Asia 231.2 232.3 195.4 196.2 504.1 509.5 930.8 938.0
Africa 13.9 20.1 71.2 85.2 14.7 15.0 99.9 120.3
Central America 3.6 3.3 24.6 27.2 1.8 1.8 29.9 32.2
South America 12.6 17.7 58.6 53.8 19.1 18.1 90.3 89.6
North America 84.9 84.9 233.9 292.8 7.9 7.8 326.7 385.5
Europe 125.0 125.1 146.4 149.0 2.3 2.3 273.6 276.4
CIS 58.0 69.7 59.6 69.4 1.5 1.6 119.2 140.7
Oceania 18.0 18.2 9.4 9.5 1.2 1.3 27.4 28.0
WORLD 547.3 571.4 799.1 883.0 552.5 557.3 1/ 1 898.9 2 011.7
Developing countries 258.5 270.4 344.3 351.2 526.3 531.4 1 129.1 1 153.0
Developed countries 288.7 301.0 454.8 531.8 26.2 25.9 769.7 858.7

1/ Tentative forecast.

Malaysia, the production outlook for 1996 is relatively stable. In recent years, output of paddy in the country has been around 2.1 million tons. In Sri Lanka, drought since October has affected large parts of the country. As a result, nearly 50 000 hectares of rice land could not be planted and the Maha (main) paddy crop is expected to be reduced by 23 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.

In Bangladesh, the Aus crop, the first of the 3 paddy crops, is now being sown. Although the country was hit by tornadoes in mid-May causing damage to infrastructure and the loss of lives, its impact on the crop situation is not yet known. In Japan and the Republic of Korea, plantings of paddy started in April. For 1996, a target output of 6.6 million tons paddy has been set, 3 percent more than the poor crop harvested last year. In Japan, where weather conditions are normal, about 790 000 hectares will be diverted from rice plantings under the Land Diversion Programme, a slightly larger area than in 1995. Elsewhere in Asia, the 1996 paddy season awaits the arrival of monsoon rains.



The 1996 wheat crop in the sub-region, currently being harvested, is estimated at almost 15 million tons against only 9 million tons last year. In Algeria, favourable weather since January has benefited the crop which is expected to be higher than last year's above-average harvest of 1.6 million tons. Reflecting above-normal rains and increased plantings, production in Morocco is expected at the normal level of 5.5 million tons, up from the drought-affected 1995 crop of only 1.1 million tons. In Tunisia, good and well distributed rains since the start of the growing season, coupled with adequate availability of fertilizers, will result in a marked recovery of the wheat output after two years of sharply reduced crops. Production could reach the 1991 record 1.8 million tons. In Egypt, despite a small decline in the area sown to wheat, production is expected to be marginally higher than last year and above average. Aggregate output of coarse grains in 1996 in the sub-region is expected at some 13 million tons, sharply up from last year's drought-affected harvest of 8.4 million tons. The most significant increases are expected in Morocco and Tunisia. Egypt, the main rice producer in the sub-region, has started the planting of rice. Weather conditions, so far, have not been favourable because of abnormally low rainfalls and high temperatures.


The rainy season has started in the south of some Sahelian countries allowing coarse grains plantings to begin. Significant rains have been received in mid-May in the south of Mali and the extreme south of Niger. Rains started in April in Burkina Faso and became above-normal in the south and centre in May. In Chad, rains started in April in the extreme south, increased in early May but decreased in mid-May. In Senegal and Mauritania, seasonably dry conditions still prevail. Plantings will progress northwards following the onset of the rains.

In the south of the coastal countries, from Guinea to Nigeria, abundant rains in late March and April allowed the planting of the first maize crop. In the north, following widespread rains in mid May, the planting of millet and sorghum is well underway. In Liberia, the recent upsurge of civil strife will severely affect 1996 growing season and the already tight food supply situation. In Sierra Leone, population displacements and insecurity have also severely disrupted agricultural production. Cereals output was very low in 1995 and no improvement is anticipated this year.

Planting of paddy rice for the 1996 season is still to start in most countries pending the arrival of the seasonal rains. Nigeria, the biggest producer in the sub-region, has set a tentative target of 3.25 million tons of paddy to be produced in 1996. However, a shortage of fertilizers, seeds, pesticides and other farm inputs could affect production.


In southern Zaire, maize is maturing and the harvest has started in some places. Land preparation for the planting of rice is underway in the north. The security situation is still unstable in Masisi and Kivu areas. In Cameroon, following abundant rains, the planting of millet and sorghum is beginning in the north and the first maize crop is growing satisfactorily.


The 1996 wheat crop has been harvested in Sudan. Preliminary estimates indicate an output of 560 000 tons, one-quarter up from last year, as a result of increased plantings, favourable temperatures and absence of pests. In Kenya, wheat planting has been completed under normal weather conditions. The area planted is provisionally estimated to be close to or marginally above last year’s good level reflecting diversion of land from maize. In Ethiopia, planting of the 1996 wheat crop has started under favourable growing conditions.

Planting of the 1996 main season coarse grains is underway in northern countries of the sub-region, while in southern parts crops are about to be harvested. In Eritrea, planting of the 1996 main season coarse grains is well-advanced. Early prospects are promising reflecting timely and good rains so far. In Ethiopia, an overall good secondary “belg” crop is expected. Despite a delay in the start of the rainy season, abundant precipitation from the second half of March has benefited crop development. The good “belg” rains also allowed timely planting of the main 1996 long-cycle maize and sorghum crops in southern parts of the country. In Kenya, despite favourable rains so far, the outlook for the recently planted maize crop is not promising. This reflects a reduction in the area planted in response to low domestic market prices and increased cost of agricultural inputs. In Somalia, prospects for the recently planted “Gu” sorghum and maize crops are favourable following normal to above-normal rains since the beginning of the season. In Sudan, rains in the past months have provided adequate soil moisture for land preparation and planting of the 1996 main coarse grains about to start.

In Burundi, the outcome of the 1996 second season coarse grain crops, about to be harvested, is uncertain. The deterioration in security conditions in the past months, resulting in massive population displacement, is likely to have disrupted agricultural activities. Prospects for the 1996 second season coarse grain crops are better in Rwanda reflecting improved security conditions and favourable weather during the season. In Tanzania, harvesting of the main coarse grain season in unimodal areas is underway. The output is anticipated to be good reflecting abundant rains during the season. Favourable rains also benefited vegetative crops in the bimodal northern growing areas. In Uganda, the first coarse grain crop season, about to be harvested, is forecast to be around the record levels of last year following normal to above-normal precipitation.


The 1996 coarse grain crop is being harvested in the sub-region and initial estimates point to a bumper crop of 19.6 million tons, 38 percent above average and nearly double last year’s drought-reduced level. This is largely due to favourable rains in most countries, a general increase in area planted, and expectations of above-average yields especially for the maize crop which constitutes the bulk of production. In Angola and Mozambique, recently-completed FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions have forecast coarse grain production in Angola at 500 000 tons, 84 percent more than last year due to a recovery of production stimulated by the generally peaceful conditions across the country, government provision of tools and seeds, a good rainfall pattern and no serious outbreak of pests or diseases. In Mozambique, the Mission reported that despite excessive rains in some regions, which caused floods along the rivers or in low lands, the 1996 coarse grain crop, estimated at 1.2 million tons would be 22 percent more than the previous year and more than double the five-year average. This outcome is the result of above-average level of precipitation and higher average yields which will more than compensate for the reduction in area harvested.

In South Africa, although heavy rains caused some crop damage in some areas, the coarse gain output is estimated at 10.9 million tons, which is double the drought-affected 1995 output. A tripling of last year’s coarse grain output is anticipated in Zimbabwe, the second largest producer in the sub-region, where an output of some 2.9 million tons is estimated for 1996. In most other countries in the sub-region, initial forecasts of coarse grain output point also to above-average harvests.

Prospects for the 1996 wheat crop are also very favourable in the sub-region. Given increased availability of irrigation water, particularly in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, production in the sub-region is expected to increase substantially from 2.3 to 2.7 million tons, which would be 25 percent above average.

In Madagascar, the main rice producing country in the sub-region, the impact of cyclones at the beginning of the year was minimal and prospects for the 1995/96 paddy crop are favourable. Output is expected to be close to last year’s relatively good crop. In Mozambique, transplanting of rice has started and there has been a slight expansion in the area planted. The paddy crop is provisionally forecast at 139 000 tons, 23 percent higher than last year’s output.


Harvesting of the 1996 wheat crop is almost complete. Output is provisionally estimated at about 3.3 million tons, 10 percent down from the low 1995 level. This is mainly due to a further decrease in plantings in Mexico, virtually the sole producer in the sub-region. The reduction is mostly the consequence of increased production costs and credit shortages, largely caused by the devaluation of the currency, as well as adverse weather in the main growing areas at planting.

Planting of the 1996 main season coarse grain crops has started in most countries under generally favourable conditions except in Mexico, currently affected by a dry spell. Early forecasts point to a significant expansion in plantings, mostly due to government efforts in Mexico to stimulate production from last year’s drought-affected level. The area planted to maize and sorghum in Mexico is expected to increase from 7.5 and 1.4 million hectares to 8 and 2 million hectares respectively, assuming weather conditions return to normal soon. Average to above-average plantings are also forecast for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. By contrast, in Costa Rica, recently affected by heavy rains and floodings, the area planted should remain close to the 1995 below-average level. In the Caribbean, in the Dominican Republic, normal rains continue benefiting sowing of the 1996 first season cereal and minor food crops. Above-average maize and sorghum plantings are anticipated. In Cuba and Haiti, the area planted to maize is forecast to decrease slightly from the average level of the previous year.


In the southern areas of the sub-region, planting of the 1996/97 wheat crop is about to start under good soil moisture conditions following normal rains since February. In Argentina, plantings are expected to increase substantially from last year's drought affected crop, principally as a result of the highly attractive prices for producers. Plantings are forecast at about 6 million hectares compared to 4.4 million hectares in 1995. In Brazil, plantings are also anticipated to increase from 1 million hectares to an above-average 1.7 million hectares, and production should recover from last year’s outturn. In Uruguay above-average plantings are expected, mainly in response to expanding exports. In the Andean countries, in Bolivia, normal rains in April have kept soils moist for planting of the 1996 second season wheat crop which has just begun. Production for the whole year is forecast to be below average, however, mostly as a consequence of the reduced main season crop resulting from dry weather at planting. In Peru, early harvesting of the 1996 wheat crop has started in some of the main growing areas in the south-eastern and central highlands. Production forecasts indicate that output should be above average, provided good weather persists. In Ecuador, growing conditions are good for the 1996 main season crop following normal to abundant precipitation during April in the highland, main growing areas. Output is provisionally forecast to be about average. In Colombia, adequate rains in early April have benefited sowing of the 1996 main season wheat crop and plantings are anticipated to increase slightly from last year's below-average level.

Harvesting of the 1996 coarse grain crops is well advanced in the southern areas of the sub-region. Aggregate 1996 maize output in these parts is provisionally estimated at 43.1 million tons compared to 49.2 million tons in 1995. The reduction is due to lower outputs in Argentina and Brazil, where the crops were affected by very dry weather at planting. In Argentina, maize production is expected to decrease from a high 11.4 million tons in 1995 to 10.7 million tons, while in Brazil, where harvesting is almost complete, output is estimated at about 31.3 million tons, down from the record 36.7 million tons last year. Nevertheless, production is above the average of the last five years in both countries. Maize outputs in Uruguay and Chile are close to the 1995 average and above-average levels respectively. In the Andean countries, in Bolivia, harvesting of the 1996 main season maize crop is underway. Prospects are good and above-average outputs are anticipated. In Peru, weather conditions continue to favour the development and harvesting operations of the 1996 maize crop. Early forecasts point to a slight increase from last year's above-average output. In Ecuador, aggregate maize output is provisionally forecast to decrease from last year's record, but should remain above average. In Colombia, planting of the 1996 first maize and sorghum crops has started. In Venezuela, planting outlook for the 1996 maize and sorghum crops is uncertain as the agricultural sector continues to be affected by severe financial and administrative constraints.

The region's 1996 paddy crop season is well advanced. Most countries have completed the harvesting of their main season rice crops. In Brazil, the largest producer and consumer in the region, output of paddy is expected to fall by 1.2 million tons to 10 million tons. Reduced plantings in Rio Grande do Sul brought about by a fall in producer support price for paddy and a substantial increase in fertilizer prices, are among the main reasons for the poorer output in the country. In Argentina, drought has affected adversely the rice crop and it is estimated that out of the 200 000 hectares sown only 160 000 hectares were harvested. As a result, output in 1996 is likely to be about 700 000 tons, 24 percent lower than last year. By contrast, Uruguay's 1996 output of paddy, estimated at 804 000 tons, would be higher than in the previous year because of improved yields. In Peru, high domestic prices of rice have encouraged farmers to plant more rice in 1996. A larger output is also estimated in Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela.


Prospects for the 1996 wheat crop in the United States have deteriorated due to adverse weather in the major winter wheat states. The first official estimate of winter wheat production based on conditions as of 1 May is 37.1 million tons, versus 42.1 million tons last year despite a substantial increase in plantings. At this level, the winter wheat crop would be the lowest in 18 years. The official forecast for total (winter and spring) United States wheat output was put at 56.4 million tons versus 59.5 million tons in 1995. Only part of the decline in winter wheat output is expected to be made up by larger spring wheat production. However, spring wheat planting has also been somewhat affected by adverse weather. On 20 May, crop progress reports showed that after a slow start, planting and emergence of the 1996 spring wheat crop in key states had risen closer to the 1995 pace but still lagged a little behind average. The final outcome of spring planting and development of spring and winter crops will depend crucially on weather conditions over the coming weeks.

In Canada, the official March seeding intentions report (released 30 April) indicated wheat plantings would rise to some 13 million hectares, 16 percent up from 1995. Although adverse weather in May resulted in long planting delays, farmers are still expected to stick closely to their original intentions, even risking plantings later than normal, because of this year’s exceptionally high grain prices. Thus, if weather conditions are favourable over the coming weeks, and even if yields drop from last year’s level because of the shorter growing season, aggregate wheat output in 1996 is expected to increase significantly to 28.5 million tons, from last year’s crop of 25 million tons.

The outlook for the United States coarse grain crop is somewhat uncertain due to continuing planting delays because of adverse weather in some major producing areas. The official March seeding intentions report indicated that the area planted to maize this year would increase by about 12 percent due to reduced area restrictions and attractive prices. Based on this, and assuming normal weather, the United States’ first official production forecast projected an aggregate 1996 coarse grains output of 266 million tons against only 210 million tons last year. By mid-May, maize planting progress was reported to lag some 10 percent behind normal over the major producing states. In Ohio, where weather conditions were have been particularly unfavourable, planting progress was 90 percent behind average. However, because of attractive prices, farmers are expected to continue planting maize well past the normal cut-off date. Thus, plantings could still reach intended levels if weather conditions improve soon in waterlogged areas, and good yields could still be achieved if favourable conditions prevail for the remainder of the season.

In Canada, planting of the 1996 coarse grain crop is underway. According to the official March planting intentions report, the aggregate coarse grain area is expected to increase by 16 percent from 1995 to 8.2 million hectares. The largest increase in percentage terms is expected in the area sown to oats, but the area sown to barley, the major coarse grain crop, is also expected to increase significantly. As for wheat, planting progress has been somewhat hampered by adverse weather, but if conditions improve soon for the completion of planting operations, and the weather remains good for the remainder of the season, output is expected to increase significantly to almost 27 million tons, from 24 million tons in 1995.

In the United States, planting of the 1996 paddy crop is well-advanced. USDA's prospective rice planting reports indicate that the total planted area under rice would be about 2 percent less than last year. Total paddy output in 1996 is forecast at 7.8 million tons, only slightly below last year. Output of long-grain rice is expected to fall by 9 percent, partially offset by a 16 percent increase in medium-grain production. Most of the rice producing states are expected to plant less, with the exception of California, partly reflecting farmers response to the new Farm Bill, under which the acreage reduction programme, target support prices for paddy and deficiency payments have been eliminated. All links between support payments and farm prices have been removed and in its place there would be "production flexibility contract payments" giving farmers freedom to plant any crop on contract acres. This means greater responsiveness to market prices and a likely shift to other cereal crops, especially after the sharp rise of prices for other cereals in the past year.


Prospects for the region’s 1996 wheat and coarse grain crops remain generally satisfactory. In April, after generally prolonged winter conditions, a warming trend spread eastward over most of the region, promoting winter grain development and raising soil temperatures to favourable levels for spring grain and summer crop planting. In May, timely beneficial rain arrived in northern France and southern Germany but unfavourable dryness continued in some northern parts, in particular over the south of the United Kingdom and northern Germany limiting moisture for winter crops and emerging spring grains. In eastern parts of the region, widespread rain in May from the southern half of Poland southward to Bulgaria benefited winter grain development but interrupted summer crop planting.

In the EC, the early potential of the 1996 cereal crops has been somewhat reduced over the past two months by the unusual weather patterns. Nevertheless, wheat and coarse grains outputs are still expected to increase by about 5 percent and 6 percent respectively from the previous year reflecting increased plantings following reduction of area restrictions. In France, the first official estimate of 1996 grain plantings, puts the total grain area for the 1996 harvest at 8.7 million hectares compared to 8.3 million hectares in 1995. Both wheat and barley plantings have increased by about 6 percent. In Germany, the wheat area also increased from the previous year and crops were mostly undamaged by harsh winter conditions. By contrast, the winter barley crop suffered some significant winterkill. However, production is still expected to be up because of increased plantings. In the United Kingdom, drought has already significantly reduced the potential of winter cereals in some major producing areas. Good rainfall is needed soon to prevent further yield loss. By contrast, in Spain and Portugal, after several years of drought, exceptional rainfall has favoured crops but drier weather is now needed for grain maturation.

In eastern parts of the region, weather conditions generally improved during May after a particularly harsh and prolonged winter in several parts. In Poland, despite increased winter grain sowings, latest indications now point to a significantly reduced cereal crop in 1996 due to adverse winter conditions and the delayed onset of spring weather. In Hungary, despite a similarly harsh winter, the winter wheat crop is reported to have recovered well in May with the arrival of warmer weather and production is expected to be marginally up from last year’s above-average crop. Early indications for spring grains point to increased maize and spring wheat plantings. Cereal crops in Romania were also hit by this year’s prolonged winter, particularly in southern parts. This could result in losses of up to 1 million tons of the potential wheat crop in 1996, already expected to be down from 1995’s good level because of reduced plantings. The adverse weather conditions also hampered spring planting. In Bulgaria, prospects for 1996 cereal crops are somewhat unfavourable. Winter grain plantings were reduced and adverse spring weather has constrained spring planting also. In the Yugoslav Federal Republic (Serbia and Montenegro) and in Croatia, despite favourable weather conditions, wheat production is forecast to decline this year due to a reduction in the area planted. By contrast, spring maize plantings are estimated to be up from last year in both countries. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the 1996 cereal crop is forecast to recover following an increase in plantings and expected higher yields in response to improved availability of agricultural inputs and generally favourable weather. A recent FAO/WFP/UNHCR Mission to the country forecast the output of wheat at 361 000 tons, 15 percent above the level of last year and that of maize at 882 000 tons, 65 percent higher than the poor crop of 1995. In Slovenia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, normal cereal crops are expected reflecting the favourable weather so far.

In the EC, plantings of the 1996 paddy crop have started. Heavy rains in Spain have ended three successive years of drought and should allow for a significant recovery in its rice production in 1996. However, in Andalucia, continued rains have delayed the sowing of rice. In Italy, some 239 000 hectares of paddy have been planted, virtually the same as in the previous year, but sowing of Indica rice has been reduced. In France, the area planted to rice is likely to be around 25 000 hectares, i.e. about the previous year's level. The 1996/97 crop year marks the start of the EC’s new rice reform programme. The intervention price for paddy for 1996/97 is set at 351 ECU per ton, down 6 percent from the previous year.


Current indications point to a recovery in output in the CIS. The 1996 cereal and pulse harvest in the CIS is tentatively forecast to recover to about 144 million tons from 122 million tons in 1995. Output of wheat is expected to increase sharply to 70 million tons (1995: 58 million tons) in response to high prices, larger area, and better yields. Coarse grain output is likely to recover to 69 million tons as better yields are forecast to offset the reduction in the area sown. Output of paddy is expected to remain close to last year's level of 1.5 million tons. The winter grain harvest could be up to 10 million tons more than in 1995 in response to higher cereal prices and increases in the area sown coupled with significantly lower winterkill than in the preceding two years. Soil moisture reserves for spring grain development are also markedly better than in 1995. However, planting progress has been slow in part reflecting the late onset of spring. Shortages of credit, fertilizers and machinery are likely to keep yields below their potential.

In the Russian Federation, some 13 million hectares (1995: 10.4 million hectares) of winter grains have survived the winter in mostly good to satisfactory condition and the winter grain harvest is officially estimated at 25-26 million tons (1995: 20 million tons), including about 20 million tons of wheat. Spring grain planting was delayed by the late spring and shortages of machinery, fuel and credit; nevertheless, yields are expected to recover from last year's drought affected level, even if fertilizer use remains low. Growing conditions and economic factors will determine the final outcome but current indications are that the 1996 grain production target of 77 million tons, cleaned weight, could be achieved. In the Ukraine, the outlook is reported to be good and the official grain harvest target has been raised by 1 million tons to 39 million tons, including 18 million tons of wheat. In Kazakhstan, some recovery in the drought reduced yields of 1995 is to be expected despite the persistent severe economic problems on farm. In Belarus, also, output is forecast to increase by 10 percent. In all other states except Armenia and Kyrghyzstan, harvests better or close to last year’s levels are likely.

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).


In Australia, prospects are favourable for the 1996 winter wheat crop. Ideal conditions and strong international prices are favouring planting throughout most of the major growing areas. In particular, conditions have improved greatly this year in Queensland where torrential rainfall in early May should guarantee larger plantings and a recovery in output from the drought-reduced harvests in the past five years, even if future rainfall is below average. Latest official forecasts put the 1996 winter wheat area at about 11 million hectares, up some 11 percent from the previous year. Thus, assuming weather conditions are normal, even if yields slip back from the above-average levels obtained in 1995, output is expected to increase from 1995’s bumper crop, now estimated at 17.8 million tons. For coarse grains, the harvest of the minor 1996 summer crop, mostly sorghum, is virtually complete. Despite damaging floods in early May, which seriously affected up to 20 percent of crops in some of the worst hit areas, a bumper sorghum output of about 1.5 million tons is expected. Planting of the bulk of the winter coarse grain crops, mostly barley, is yet to get underway in earnest as farmers are taking advantage of rains to sow wheat and other early crops which require a longer growing season. Despite strong price prospects also for barley, the area sown to this crop is expected to decrease marginally because of the substantial shift to wheat. However, any delays to the sowing of early grain crops could lead to an increase in the barley area. Harvesting of the rice crop is almost complete. Output of paddy in 1996 is forecast at 1.3 million tons, up 13 percent from the previous year.

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