In Asia, FAO's latest estimate of the region's wheat output has been revised downwards to about 244 million tonnes, from 247.6 million tonnes in the previous report. At this level, production would be some 5.5 million tonnes lower than in 1997. The latest revision reflects mainly a decrease in the estimate of production for China to 112 million tonnes compared to around 118 million tonnes earlier, due to adverse weather developments. In many countries of the region winter wheat sowing will commence soon for the 1999 harvest from April next year.
The overall outlook for the 1998 coarse grains crop in the region is favourable. FAO's current forecast is about 215 million tonnes, compared to the reduced harvest of 192.8 million tonnes last year. In China, coarse grains output is currently estimated at about 138 million tonnes, 15 percent higher than last year's drought affected crop. Production is also expected to increase in India, following a generally favourable monsoon. In Afghanistan the 1998 cereal production is estimated to be the highest since 1978; however, the food supply situation is likely to remain tight in the areas affected by civil strife and earthquakes. Cereal production in Turkey has also increased by more than 9 percent from the previous year to over 32 million tonnes following generally favourable growing conditions. In Iraq, despite some improvement in the overall food supply situation following the implementation of the "oil for food" deal, malnutrition still remains a serious problem.
The latest forecast for the regions 1998 paddy output is 514 million tonnes, 5 million tonnes down from the previous forecast and 14 million tonnes less than the revised figure for 1997. Torrential rains during late-June to September in some Asian countries interrupted the planting progress and/or destroyed crops already in the fields.
In Indonesia, the FAO/WFP crop and food supply assessment mission in early October estimated the 1998 paddy output at 45.4 million tonnes, about 1 million tonnes less than the previous estimate and down from 49.4 million tonnes produced in 1997. The decline is attributed to a combination of the El Niño-related drought, smaller planted area, and a shortage in inputs, including fertilizers and pesticides. In Sri Lanka, harvesting of the Yala crop is in progress and a slight increase in production is expected. Overall, total paddy output is projected to expand by 14 percent from the previous year to 2.6 million tonnes due to favourable growing conditions and area expansion.
In China (Mainland), floods in Central and Southern China during most of July and August have destroyed several million hectares of cropland, including many major rice producing areas, damaged agricultural infrastructure and, in some cases, delayed planting of the late-double crop. The 1998 paddy output is provisionally forecast to decline by about 9 million tonnes from last years record to 191 million tonnes. In Cambodia, after a delayed arrival, rains during most of September improved the outlook for the paddy crop. Production is now expected to be close to last years 3.4 million tonnes. In Viet Nam, aggregate 1998 paddy output is forecast to decrease slightly from the previous year. The summer-autumn rice crop was affected by a dry spell during the early part of the season. Harvesting of the main season crop is underway in the north while in the southern part of the country planting is just nearing completion. Harvesting of the main season crop in the Philippines is in progress but the early part of the season was conditioned by persistent El Niño-related drought that had depressed plantings. Planting of the secondary crop is underway in most of the country. Overall, paddy output in 1998 is forecast at 10.8 million tonnes, slightly up from the drought-reduced 1997 crop. However, the final outcome will still depend greatly on the weather conditions in the remainder of the season and the influence, if any, of La Niña.
In Thailand, harvesting of the 1998-99 main-season crop is underway and the Government forecasts an increase in output as strong price incentives helped motivate producers to expand rice area. Production of high -quality Jasmine rice, which accounts for approximately 18 percent of Thais total paddy output, is expected to increase by about 19 percent from 1997 to 4.1 million tonnes.
|Wheat||Coarse grains||Rice (paddy)||Total 1/|
|( . . . . . . million tonnes . . . . . . . . )|
|WORLD||615.4||594.0||908.8||902.6||577.8||561.1||2 102.0||2 057.7|
|Developing countries||286.2||279.6||351.1||378.6||551.8||536.1||1 189.1||1 194.4|
In Japan, harvesting of the 1998 crop is underway and, due to a combination of lower area and flood damage, output is now estimated to decline by about 11 percent to 11.2 million tonnes. In the Republic of Korea, paddy output in 1998 is forecast to decline by 7 percent from the previous year to 7 million tonnes, despite a slight increase in area. This is due to reduced yields attributed to weather-related problems. In the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, paddy production in 1998 has been affected by a combination of floods and hailstorms during the summer months and inadequate supply of inputs, particularly fertilizers. Production is now forecast at 1.6 million tonnes, down from last years already low crop of 1.7 million tonnes.
In Bangladesh, floods that covered most of the country since July started to recede in mid-September. Preliminary official indications, as of mid-September, suggest that at least 2 million tonnes of rice have been lost due to floods, but the loss could be as high as 3 million tonnes as some farmers in the flood-affected areas were unable to plant their crops in time. Although harvesting of the Boro crop had already been completed before the floods, part of the Aus crop, especially the late-planted sections, was affected and output is estimated at 1.6 million tonnes, down by 16 percent from original expectations. In India harvesting of the early-planted main season Kharif rice has commenced in some parts of the country. Despite damage from torrential rains in August in the northern and eastern states, the country has once again enjoyed a generally normal monsoon season and total paddy output for 1998 is tentatively forecast at a record 126 million tonnes. In Pakistan harvesting of the paddy is underway and preliminary forecasts point to an increase by 6 percent to a record 6.9 million tonnes as growing conditions were generally favourable and planted area increased by about 4 percent. In Myanmar, harvesting of the main-season crop is underway and a slight increase in output is anticipated largely due to improved yields.
NORTHERN AFRICA: Production of wheat in 1998 has increased by 3.8 million tonnes from the reduced 1997 level to 13.8 million tonnes, reflecting generally favourable growing conditions and above-average crops in all countries of the subregion. The largest increase occurred in Algeria where output more than doubled to 2 million tonnes. Production in Morocco is estimated to have increased to 4.4 million tonnes, about 90 percent higher than the 1997 harvest. Output in Tunisia is estimated to be 37 percent higher than the previous year. In Egypt, wheat output is put at 6.1 million tonnes, 4 percent up from the 1997 harvest. The subregions coarse grain crop in 1998 also benefited from favourable weather. Aggregate output increased by some 19 percent, to reach 11 million tonnes.
In Egypt, harvesting of the 1998 rice crop is underway and the Government has forecast an 18 percent reduction in output to 4.5 million tonnes. This reflects a 21 percent decline in area planted only partly compensated by record yields.
WESTERN AFRICA: Despite a late start of the season in the coastal countries, growing conditions have been generally favourable, except in Ghana and Côte dIvoire where dry spells have stressed crops. Cereal output in Sierra Leone is expected to be below last years level following new population displacements, while production should be close to last year in Liberia. In both countries the food supply situation is still very precarious and they will continue to rely heavily on food assistance in 1999. The large number of refugees in southern Guinea has affected food availability and agricultural activities in the area. In the Sahel, the rainy season is nearing its end after abundant rainfall in September. Reflecting mostly good growing conditions, crop prospects are generally favourable in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and in Chad except in the Sudanian zone affected by extensive flooding. In The Gambia and Senegal, crop prospects improved following regular rains since August but in northern Senegal additional rains are needed in October as the rainy season started late this year. In Mauritania, growing conditions were mostly favourable for rainfed crops in September. Crop prospects are uncertain in Guinea-Bissau as the impact of civil disturbances on plantings and other agricultural activities is not clear. Joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Missions together with national services are scheduled from mid-October to early November in the Sahelian countries to estimate the 1998 cereal production.
Harvesting of the 1998 paddy crop has started in some countries and is about to commence in others but civil strife in some parts continues to hamper farming activities. Growing conditions have been generally favourable across the region despite a few isolated weather-related problems. In Nigeria, the major rice producer in the subregion, harvesting is in progress and the crop is tentatively forecast to fall by 12 percent to 3.4 million tonnes despite an area expansion of 200 000 hectares. This is due to a shortage of fertilizers, pesticides and other farm inputs that are expected to depress yields.
CENTRAL AFRICA: Abundant rains benefited coarse grain crops in Cameroon and Central African Republic but pest attacks are reported in northern Cameroon. Resurgence of civil strife in the Democratic Republic of Congo is likely to impede normal agricultural and marketing activities, notably in the east where plantings for the A season are about to start.
EASTERN AFRICA: The 1998 aggregate wheat production in the subregion is forecast by FAO close to 2.8 million tonnes, similar to the above-average level of last year. In Kenya and Ethiopia, where harvesting of the crop has started, prospects remain favourable reflecting abundant rains in the past months and outputs are expected to increase from the previous year. By contrast, in Sudan, where the crop was harvested earlier in the year, output was 18 percent lower than in 1997, although still average.
Harvesting of the 1998 coarse grains has been completed in southern parts of the subregion but is just starting in northern countries. The subregion's 1998 aggregate output is forecast at about 20 million tonnes, an average crop, 12 percent above the reduced level of last year. Despite an erratic start of the rainy season in some countries, widespread abundant rains since mid-July, which resulted in floods and localized crop losses, generally benefited the developing crops. In Tanzania, the 1998 coarse grains output was estimated by an FAO/WFP Mission at 3.4 million tonnes, one-third above the poor level of last year. Abundant rains during the season encouraged farmers to expand the total area planted and resulted in generally higher yields. In Uganda, the output of the recently harvested 1998 first season is estimated to be good despite reduced crops in some areas. In Rwanda, the 1998 aggregate coarse grains production recovered substantially from the previous year to around the pre-civil strife level. Likewise, in Burundi, aggregate coarse grains output is forecast to be close to pre-civil strife levels. In Somalia, the 1998 main "Gu" season was sharply reduced by dry weather, reduced plantings and pest infestions. Sorghum production is estimated 20 percent down on last years level at 22 000 tonnes, while that of maize declined 50 percent to 61 000 tonnes. This is the fifth successive poor coarse grains harvest. In Kenya, production of the "long rains" maize crop is forecast at 2.3 million tonnes, a substantial recovery from last years reduced level. Assuming normal "short rains" production early next year, the 1998/99 aggregate maize output is projected at 2.8 million tonnes. In Ethiopia, the outlook for the coarse grain harvest has improved with the rains of the past month and the output is forecast substantially higher than last year. In Eritrea, production of coarse grains is anticipated well above the reduced crop of 1997. In the Sudan, despite serious floods in central and northern parts, overall prospects for this years coarse grain harvest are favourable.
Rice harvesting is complete in Tanzania, the largest producer in the subregion, and output for 1998 is provisionally estimated at about 1 million tonnes, up significantly from 1997. This is largely attributed to abundant rainfall during the growing season together with a 12 percent rise in area.
SOUTHERN AFRICA: Estimates of the 1998 coarse grains crop stand at 14.7 million tonnes, some 14 percent less than in the previous season and about 15 percent below average. Only a few countries recorded higher outputs this year compared to 1997, including Angola, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Swaziland. As a result of adverse weather and lower plantings, production was reduced in all other countries of the subregion. Coarse grain output fell by 15 percent to 8.2 million tonnes in South Africa, by 35 percent in Zimbabwe, and 40 percent in Zambia, mostly due to reduced plantings and prolonged dry spells that reduced yields.
The wheat harvest is underway in the subregion and latest indications point to a markedly below average output of 1.9 million tonnes, about one-third below the 1997 production of 2.7 million tonnes. Irregular rains resulted in sharply reduced water reserves in the major producing areas of South Africa and Zimbabwe. Moreover, in South Africa in particular, weak international and local wheat prices, resulted in sharply reduced plantings.
Preparations for the 1999 paddy season in the subregion are underway and planting in a few areas has started. Output from the 1998 crop turned out better than had been originally expected as the locust infestation in Madagascar, which accounts for over 90 percent of the subregions rice production, was not as bad as had been feared. In Mozambique, the other main producer in the subregion, a 6 percent increase in output is estimated to 190 000 tonnes, following generally favourable growing conditions.
Planting of the 1998/99 wheat crop has started in the large producing irrigated areas of the north-west of Mexico. Above-normal rains in September have ensured ample water levels in reservoirs in the main growing states. Plantings are forecast to be close to the 1997/98 normal level, but yields should improve if weather conditions return to normal.
In Central America, torrential rains, widespread flooding and sustained high-force winds caused by hurricane "Mitch" in late October have inflicted severe loss of life and immense damage to housing and infrastructure and to the agricultural sector in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. An assessment of damage has not yet been made but hopes of recovery from last year's drought affected crops, following the good results obtained from this year first season crops, have vanished. In Mexico, by contrast, an average output is now forecast. Widespread rains since September have benefited the developing spring/summer maize crop in the major producing zones after earlier dry weather. Harvesting of the 1998 spring/summer sorghum crop has started; output from the fall/winter crop was better than earlier expected and aggregate sorghum output in 1998 is forecast at an above-average 6.2 million tonnes. In the Caribbean, extensive damage to food and cash crops in Cuba, Haiti and Dominican Republic was caused by hurricane "Georges" in late September. In Cuba, the losses inflicted by the hurricane represent a further blow to the vulnerable agricultural sector thus worsening a difficult food supply situation. The country had been affected in the last 5 months by a severe drought and by heavy rains and flooding earlier in the year.
In Argentina, moderate to heavy rains during the first half of October benefited the developing 1998 wheat crop in the main producing central and southern Buenos Aires province. However, after persisting dry conditions, good rains are still needed in other important growing areas such as southern Santa Fe, east of Cordoba and La Pampa provinces. Harvesting is due to start from November and output is provisionally forecast at some 10.5-10.9 million tonnes, down from 14.8 million tonnes in 1997, mostly as a result of reduced plantings as farmers switched land to more profitable crops. In Brazil, harvesting of the 1998 wheat crop is underway and production is expected to fall from 2.4 million tonnes to 2.2 million tonnes. This is largely the result of exceptionally heavy and damaging rains in September in the main wheat producing state of Parana. In Uruguay, where harvesting is about to start , a slightly below-average wheat output is forecast, also reflecting damages by heavy rains. By contrast, a severe dry spell has affected the crop in Chile and a poor output is expected. In the Andean countries, in Bolivia, harvesting of the 1998 second season (winter) wheat crop is underway and below-average yields are being obtained as a consequence of the lack of rain which prevails over most of the country. In Peru, aggregate 1998 wheat production is presently forecast to be slightly above average. In Ecuador, output of the 1998 first season wheat crop is estimated at a slightly below average.
Planting of the 1998/99 maize crop in Argentina is being delayed in several important producing areas because of dry conditions which have persisted since August. Only 20 percent of intended plantings have been sown compared to 60 percent at the same time last year. In Brazil, sowing of the 1998/99 maize crop is underway. Plantings in the principal producing areas in the south, particularly in Rio Grande do Sul, are likely to decline from last year. Producers have switched to more drought resistant crops, fearful of possible drought that could result from the impending La Niña weather phenomenon. In Chile, a severe drought in the central areas is affecting planting of the 1998/99 maize crop, currently underway, and the final area is expected to be considerably below earlier expectations. In the Andean countries, in Bolivia, planting of the 1998/99 first (main) season coarse grain crop are forecast close to last year's level and improved yields are anticipated after drought affected the 1997/98 crops. In Ecuador, the 1998/99 coarse grain plantings, principally maize, are expected to increase from last year's reduced area. In Peru, the bulk of the1998 maize crop has been harvested and aggregate output for the whole year is forecast to be slightly above average. In Colombia, harvesting of the 1998/99 first season maize crop has been completed and planting of the second season crop is underway. Aggregate output is anticipated to increase considerably from last years El Niño-affected crops. In Venezuela, harvesting of the 1998 maize crop continues under normal conditions and an average output is expected.
Harvesting of the 1998 paddy crop is complete in the region. A combination of reduced harvested area and a drop in average yields, due to El Niño weather-related problems, resulted in lower rice output of 16 million tonnes compared to 17.7 million tonnes in 1997. Planting of the 1999 paddy crop has begun in some countries.
In the United States, latest official reports put the 1998 aggregate wheat output at 69.6 million tonnes, some 1 percent up from 1997. As of late October, progress of the winter wheat crop planting was reported to be about normal, after earlier delays due to heavy rainfall. Germination rates are also normally helped by the earlier rainfall. The likely area sown to winter wheat remains very uncertain, however, if farmers respond to the current price outlook for the new crop, which is less attractive than a year ago, plantings could decrease again this autumn. In Canada, the main wheat harvest was virtually completed by the end of September and was one of the earliest on record due largely to early seeding and the hot, dry weather this summer. Due partly to the early harvest and favourable conditions, most of the wheat crop is reported to fall in the top two Canadian quality grades. The latest official estimate in early October put 1998 wheat output at 23.3 million tonnes, 4.5 percent down from the previous year, primarily due to a 7 percent reduction in seeded area.
The outlook for the United States 1998 coarse grains crop remains generally favourable. Based on conditions as of 1 October, maize output is forecast at 247.5 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from the September forecast, about 10 million tonnes up from the previous year and the second highest on record. The forecast of the harvested area is almost identical to the estimated area harvested in 1997 but the average yield is forecast to increase to the second highest ever after the record in 1994. As of early October, crop maturity was rated well ahead of normal and similarly harvest progress. However, reduced outputs are expected for most of the other major coarse grains, due to smaller areas harvested and lower yields. Nevertheless, owing to the large increase expected in maize output, the 1998 aggregate coarse grain crop is forecast at 271.5 million tonnes, some 2 percent up from 1997. In Canada, aggregate coarse grain production is expected to increase marginally from the previous year, to 25.4 million tonnes. Larger maize and oats crops are expected to more than offset reduced barley production.
In the United States, harvesting of the 1998 paddy crop is well advanced and by the end of September about 70 percent of the crop had been gathered or was nearing completion in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In California, harvesting is in its early stages since the crop was planted late due to a cold and rainy spring. Total paddy output for the United States has been adjusted upwards by about 100 000 tonnes from the previous report to 8.2 million tonnes based on new information of better yields than had been expected.
Widespread, frequent showers across most of the region throughout September and early October slowed summer crop harvesting but provided abundant moisture conditions for winter grain emergence and establishment. FAOs estimate of aggregate 1998 cereal production in the EC has been raised further since the last report to a record 214 million tonnes, 2.5 percent up from the 1997 crop. Good weather continued throughout the late summer and favoured the completion of the bulk of the harvests. Wheat has performed particularly well in 1998 as a result of favourable weather conditions, and above-average to record crops were recorded in most countries. Aggregate wheat production is now forecast at 103.8 million tonnes, 9 percent up from 1997. With regard to the coarse grains, barley, rye and triticale production are also forecast to increase from the previous year but output of oats will be reduced. Although the summer maize harvest has yet to be completed in several parts, latest indications confirm a significant reduction after last year's bumper crop. Maize output is now forecast at some 35 million tonnes, compared to well over 39 million tonnes estimated for 1997.
Winter grain planting is well advanced throughout the Community, particularly in the northern countries. Weather conditions have been generally satisfactory but the area is expected to decline following the 5 percent increase in the land set-aside requirement for the 1999 crop.
In eastern parts of the region, with the exception of Poland, most countries have gathered similar or somewhat smaller cereal crops than last year. In Bulgaria, wheat output in 1998 is estimated at 3.2 million tonnes, 11 percent down from last year, while that of coarse grains is put at 2.3 million tonnes, compared to 2.6 million tonnes in 1997. The pace of winter grain planting for the 1999 harvest is reported to be slow due to wet conditions and farmers' lack of finance to procure inputs. The winter sowing season normally ends at the end of October and the wheat area is likely to fall below normal unless warm and dry weather continues well into November. In the Czech Republic, total 1998 cereal production is estimated at close to the 1997 level of 6.7 million tonnes. A slightly larger wheat crop of 3.9 million tonnes was offset by reduced coarse grains outputs. In Hungary, another above average cereal crop has been gathered in 1998, although down from the bumper harvest last year. Wheat output is estimated at 5 million tonnes, while that of coarse grains is put at about 8 million tonnes. In Poland, the 1998 cereal harvest is now estimated at 26.6 million tonnes. Wheat output is estimated at a record 9.3 million tonnes, while the coarse grains crop, at 17.3 million tonnes, would again be above average. In Romania, the 1998 cereal crop is estimated at about 17 million tonnes, 5 million tonnes down from last years good crop and below average. Wheat production fell to 5.2 million tonnes due mostly to reduced plantings and adverse weather in autumn 1997. Hot and dry conditions during the summer affected the maize crop, and aggregate coarse grain output is estimated to have fallen to about 11.9 million tonnes, compared to almost 15 million tonnes in 1997. In the Slovak Republic, the 1998 cereal output is estimated at an about-average 3.5 million tonnes.
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the 1998 cereal output is estimated at some 1 million tonnes, similar to the previous years crop. In Croatia, cereal production is estimated at some 3.2 million tonnes, up again from last years already above average crop. Wheat production in particular is estimated to have risen by about 30 percent to over 1 million tonnes, reflecting increased plantings and yields. In the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, latest official reports put the 1998 wheat crop at about 2.9 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from the previous year, while coarse grains output is estimated down by almost 25 percent at 5.7 million tonnes. The maize crop was affected by hot dry weather during the summer.
Harvesting of the 1998 paddy crop in the EC is in progress after generally favourable growing conditions. Based on new information, production is forecast to increase slightly from 1997 to about 2.8 million tonnes. Most of the expansion in output is expected to be in Italy, which accounts for over 50 percent of total EC rice production.
In the CIS, the outlook for the 1998 cereal harvest has deteriorated further since the last report due mostly to persisting drought in several of the major producing areas and, as the harvest progresses, increasing evidence of much below-normal yields for both wheat and coarse grains. FAO now estimates the CIS 1998 aggregate cereal harvest at about 102 million tonnes (1997: 153 million tonnes), including some 57 million tonnes of wheat (1997: 81 million tonnes) and about 44 million tonnes of coarse grains (1997: 71 million tonnes). The pulse crop is also forecast to decline but by contrast, paddy production may increase marginally.
In the Russian Federation, the 1998 cereal crop is now forecast at 50 million
tonnes, which would be 43 percent down on last years harvest due to a
combination of reduced winter and spring plantings, adverse weather during most
of the growing season, and harvest difficulties due to fuel shortages and lack
of adequate machinery. In the Ukraine, the arrival of precipitation and cooler
weather in early August brought some relief to the summer crops after persisting
hot dry conditions for several weeks, but arrived too late for the spring grains
at or nearing maturity. Aggregate cereal and pulse production in the country
is now forecast at about 30 million tonnes, 8 million tonnes down from the 1997
crop. Also in Kazakstan, a much reduced cereal harvest is now in prospect, following
reduced plantings and this season's exceptionally hot weather. Production is
forecast at some 8.5 million tonnes, about 30 percent down from 1997. In Belarus,
moderate showers in late July and early August benefitted the summer crops but
slowed winter grain harvesting. Cereal output in 1998 is forecast at just over
5 million tonnes, close to the 1997 level. Elsewhere, the 1998 cereal harvests
are expected to be similar to last years levels.
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).
The outlook for the 1998 winter wheat and coarse grain crops has deteriorated somewhat in Australia due to adverse weather conditions in several parts. However, as of late October, growing conditions remained ideal in many other parts and the total winter crop is still expected to be the
second highest on record. The 1998 wheat crop is now officially forecast at 21.9 million tonnes, up 13 percent from last year but down from the previous forecast of 23.5 million tonnes. The rain and frost damage being experienced in some parts is expected to affect the quality of this year's crop and a larger than normal proportion may be downgraded to feed wheat. Aggregate coarse grain output in 1998 (including the minor crop of mostly sorghum and maize harvested earlier this year) is now forecast at 8.6 million tonnes, compared to 10 million tonnes in 1997. It is expected that summer crops for harvest in 1999 will be planted to replace some flood damaged winter crops and thus the summer crop area is likely to increase in the upcoming season.
In Australia, preparations for the 1999 paddy season are underway and preliminary indications suggest that planted area will be reduced by about 14 percent from 1998 to 120 000 hectares, a consequence of lower irrigation water supplies. Based on average yields, output would be about 1 million tonnes or about 30 percent less than the 1998 estimate.