MEXICO (10 February)

Despite extensive damage to rainfed crops, particularly in the south-western parts of the country, caused by drought and followed by hurricane weather, a bumper 1997 maize crop of 18.3 million tonnes has been collected. Production of sorghum has been a record 6.3 million tonnes. Water reservoirs in the irrigated areas of the north-west are reported at adequate levels for the 1998 wheat crop to be harvested from April, and a near- average output is tentatively forecast; however, weather forecasts point to storms and heavy rains, attributed to El Niņo in the northern parts of the country for the next two months which could affect plantings in the large producing states of Sonora and Sinaloa.