AFGHANISTAN* (25 November)
Land preparation for the 1998/99 winter grain crops has started. The 1998 cereal production is estimated at 3.9 million tonnes, 5 percent higher than last year and the highest since 1978, as a result of generally favourable weather conditions during the growing season. Cereal imports in 1998/99 (July/June) are forecast at 740 000 tonnes.
BANGLADESH (25 November)
An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission which visited the country in October, found that the unprecedented monsoon floods from July to September caused a loss of around 2.2 million tonnes of rice production. The monsoon rice production (Aus and Aman) is projected at some 9.2 million tonnes (milled basis), about 14 percent lower than last year's reduced output. An increase in the winter-sown Boro rice crop is expected to partly offset the flood losses.
The Mission forecast the 1998/99 total paddy production at 26.3 million tonnes (17.6 million tonnes on milled basis), some 6 percent less than 1997/98. In contrast, compared to last year, wheat production is forecast to increase by about 10 percent to 1.98 million tonnes
Cereal import requirement in 1998/99 is estimated at about 4 million tonnes, with rice and wheat accounting for 1.6 and 2.4 million tonnes respectively. International assistance is required to import about 1.5 million tonnes of which 1.13 million tonnes have already been pledged.
CAMBODIA (25 November)
Below-average and late arrival of this year's wet season (June-October) rains have adversely affected crops and delayed harvest, particularly in the southern parts of the country. As a result, domestic rice prices are reported to have risen to a five-year high, exacerbating the food security situation of vulnerable groups. Severe food shortages have also been reported in the north-east, which suffered drought conditions earlier this year, with many households receiving relief food aid. Recent official reports indicate that wet season paddy output is expected to amount to 2.7 million tonnes compared with 2.8 million tonnes in 1997. At this level, the target for 1998/99 total paddy production of 3.77 million is unlikely to be met.
CHINA (25 November)
Official reports indicate that drought conditions have affected winter wheat growth in the north and the maturation of late rice in the south. Earlier during summer, floods in Central and Southern China destroyed several million hectares of cropland, damaged agricultural infrastructure and, in some cases, delayed planting of the late-double crop. Most of the provinces affected are major rice producing areas.
It is estimated that the area under wheat and other winter grains will increase by about 2.1 percent compared with last year. The 1998 paddy output is provisionally forecast to decline by about 9 million tonnes from last year’s record to 191 million tonnes.
An Emergency Operation, jointly approved by FAO and WFP to raise 247 214 tonnes of rice, has began in October targeting 5.8 million vulnerable people affected by the floods. As of 5 November, confirmed contributions amount to about 32 percent of the Emergency Operation requirement.
CYPRUS (25 November)
Planting of winter crops has started. Aggregate output of wheat and barley crops is estimated at 38 000 tonnes, 19 percent down from last year. Imports of barley and maize are forecast at 400 000 tonnes and 140 000 tonnes, respectively.
INDIA (25 November)
Unseasonable rains in October were reported to have damaged mainly rice crops in some northern and southern parts of the country. Elsewhere, seasonably dry conditions favoured summer grain crops and harvesting of kharif paddy. Cumulative rainfall at the beginning of the Rabi season this year was higher than last year. During the period from 1 October to 4 November, cumulative rainfall was normal in 33 out of 35 sub-divisions monitored, accounting for 86 percent of Rabi production, compared with 22 sub-divisions accounting for 81 percent of Rabi production in the same period last year.
Despite generally favourable monsoon rains this year, excessive rainfall and floods in some parts of the country have resulted in considerable damage to crops.
INDONESIA* (25 November)
A recent FAO/WFP mission found that the country's food security situation remains precarious as rice production fell further and the economic crisis is still serious, while unemployment was expected to rise sharply to over 20 million people by the end of 1998. The Mission 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, lower planted area, and a shortage of inputs, including fertilizers and pesticides.
IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF (25 November)
Production of wheat in 1998 is reported to have increased by more than 3 percent compared to last year's level of 10.2 million tonnes due to favourable rainfall during the growing season. Consequently, wheat imports for the current marketing year (April/March) is estimated at about 3.3 million tonnes compared to about 4 million tonnes last year. Rice imports are also expected to be reduced to 900 000 tonnes, compared to 1.2 million tonnes last year.
IRAQ* (25 November)
Rainfall has been much below normal due to an unusual dry spell, which has seriously affected the country. As a result, the sowing of the winter crop has been delayed. Very early prospects for 1998/99 crop are unfavourable so far, especially in the northern part of the country. In addition, production is likely to be constrained again this season by serious shortages of quality seeds, fertilizer and agricultural machinery. In spite of the easing of the food supply situation following the implementation of the “oil for food” deal, malnutrition still remains a serious problem throughout Iraq. The UN Security Council has just approved a fifth phase of oil-for-food deal of US$5.256 billion worth of oil sales over a period of six months, to buy food, medicine and health supplies, and for emergency infrastructure repairs.
ISRAEL (25 November)
Planting of the winter crops has started and will continue until December. Following favourable weather, the output of wheat crop in 1998 has increased by some 20 percent to 168 000 tonnes. Imports of cereals in 1998/99 (July/June) are forecast at 2.7 million tonnes.
JAPAN (25 November)
Harvesting of the 1998 crop is underway and, given a combination of lower area and floods that inflicted some damage to paddy, output is now projected to decline by about 11 percent to 11.2 million tonnes.
JORDAN (25 November)
Sowing of the winter crops is underway for valley and highland crops. Aggregate production of wheat and barley in 1998 is estimated at 75 000 tonnes. Aggregate imports of wheat and barley (July/June) are forecast at 1.4 million tonnes, about 8 percent up from last year. Coarse grains’ imports are estimated at 1.2 million tonnes, similar to last year.
KOREA, REPUBLIC OF (25 November)
Heavy rains in July and August have caused serious flooding which resulted in loss of life and damage to crops and property. Paddy output in 1998 is forecast to decline by 6 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.
KOREA, DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF* (25 November)
An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission which visited the country from 10 to 27 October found that despite an improved harvest, DPR Korea will enter 1999 with a large food deficit. Cereal Production is estimated at 3.48 million tonnes compared to last year's severely reduced crop of 2.66 million tonnes. Against this, some 3.93 million tonnes would be required for food alone and 4.83 million tonnes for total cereal utilisation, leaving an overall import requirement of about 1.35 million tonnes. Assuming that the country could import about 300 000 tonnes commercially, the overall deficit amounts to 1.05 million tonnes, with which the country needs assistance. The mission stressed the need for adequate targeting of food aid to vulnerable groups most at risk and in support of food-for-work activities.
The Mission also noted the need for adequate support for agricultural recovery, rehabilitation and development to enable the country to produce enough food to meet its minimum needs. On a more immediate basis, assistance is urged on improving input supplies, mainly fertilizers, spare parts and fuel.
LAOS* (25 November)
Drought conditions since late June have affected the main rice crop, for harvest in November/December. In southern parts of the country, particularly in Savannakhet Province, thousands of hectares of the rice crop are reported to have been damaged with a loss of up to 50 percent of the crop. The affected provinces had also suffered severe flooding in the last three years, making it difficult for households to withstand the effects of the drought. The Government has already made an appeal to donors for 35 000 tonnes of rice in food aid.
LEBANON (25 November)
Aggregate output of wheat and barley in 1998 is estimated at 62 000 tonnes. The country heavily depends on imports (around 90 percent) to meet demand for rice and sugar. Imports of wheat in 1998/99 (July/June) are forecast at some 0.5 million tonnes, similar to last year.
MALAYSIA (25 November)
Aggregate paddy production in 1998 is provisionally forecast at 2 million tonnes, about 5 percent below the average for the last five years mainly due to reduced plantings. Recent Government reports have indicated that the drought conditions earlier in the year affected rice yields in only 15 percent of the country's eight growing areas.
MONGOLIA* (25 November)
Harvesting of this year's wheat crop is almost complete. Despite average to above average rainfall in the summer, planted area in 1998 is estimated to have declined by nearly 2 percent to 323 000 hectares compared with 1997.
In 1997/98, the United States and Japan have donated 10 000 tonnes and 20 000 tonnes of grain respectively.
MYANMAR (25 November)
Harvesting of the main rice crop is underway and a slight decline in output is anticipated due to smaller area sown. Below-normal rainfall in the growing season is also reported to have affected yields. Earlier forecast put this year's paddy output at 17.8 million tonnes.
NEPAL (25 November)
More than 70 000 hectares of cropped area in the monsoon season were reported to have been damaged due to floods and landslides. Paddy output this year is forecast to be below the 3.6 million tonnes harvested in 1997.
PAKISTAN (25 November)
Harvesting of the paddy crop is underway and preliminary indications point towards a good 1998 season, with an increase in planted area to an estimated 2.4 million hectares, about 5 percent higher than last year. The Government has also provided additional incentives in the form of credit facilities, higher procurement prices and increased availability of inputs. Output is provisionally forecast to increase by 6 percent from 1997 to a record 6.9 million tonnes.
PHILIPPINES (25 November)
The combined effects of El Niño and La Niña are reported to have severely damaged the country's rice and maize production. Typhoon Zeb and Babs, which came within days of each other, damaged about 650 000 tonnes of paddy in Luzon, the country's rice bowl. The overall paddy output in 1998 is now forecast to reach only 8.99 million tonnes, down from the previous forecast of 10.8 million tonnes. Maize output is similarly expected to fall by as much as 9 percent to about 3.9 million tonnes compared to last year.
Government reports indicate that this year's rice imports are expected to reach up to 2.2 million tonnes. The country's rice stocks, including imports, are expected to be about 2 million tonnes by the end of 1998.
SAUDI ARABIA (25 November)
Planting of the wheat crop is underway. As result of favourable weather, the aggregate output of wheat and barley in 1998 has increased by 16 percent to 2.2 million tonnes. Low number of locusts is likely to breed on the southern Tihama near Jizan. Imports of barley in 1998/99 (July/June) are forecast at 5.1 tonnes.
SRI LANKA (25 November)
Favourable monsoon rainfall and the availability of adequate water in reservoirs have benefited the Yala paddy crop. As a result, total paddy output in 1998 is expected to increase by 16 percent from last year to about 2.6 million tonnes.
Rainfall from the north-east monsoon, the country's main rainy season, has been below average. In the period 1 October to 11 November, cumulative rainfall was below normal in four out of eight provinces monitored, accounting for 54 percent of Maha paddy production. In comparison, in the same period last year, cumulative rainfall was below normal in none of the provinces.
The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Following the good harvests of last year, government- held rice stocks are adequate and rice imports are expected to be much smaller in 1998/99.
SYRIA (25 November)
Sowing of the winter grains has started and will continue until the end of the year. Production of wheat in 1998 is estimated at 4.1 million tonnes, 35 percent up from last year and that of barley at 983 000 tonnes, 8 percent higher than last year. Imports of wheat flour and rice in 1998/99 are forecast at 150 000 tonnes and 150 000 tonnes, respectively.
THAILAND (25 November)
Scattered showers at the beginning of November boosted reservoir levels in western Thailand, while dry weather helped rice harvesting in the northeast. 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.
TURKEY (25 November)
Sowing to the winter crops is underway. Production of wheat in 1998 is estimated at 21 million tonnes, 12 percent higher than last year. The output of barley and maize is estimated at 8.2 million tonnes and 2.2 million tonnes, respectively. Wheat imports in 1998/99 are forecast at 1 million tonnes and those of maize at 650 000 tonnes.
VIET NAM (25 November)
A tropical storm that hit the south-central coast of the country on 20 November killed more than 200 people, damaged infrastructure and delayed rice harvesting in the south. Heavy showers in early November across central and southern Viet Nam were also reported to have slowed rice harvesting. Earlier in the year, prolonged drought and flash floods in different parts of the country damaged crops and property and may have affected yields. However, recent reports indicated that the Mekong Delta, which supplies around half of the country's rice output, has produced 15.45 million tonnes of paddy this year, about 10 percent higher than last year.
The export target for 1998 was revised down to 3.6 million tonnes from the original 4 million tonnes due to limited ban on exports. As of mid-October rice exports stood at 3.11 million tonnes.
YEMEN (25 November)
The output of the main sorghum crop, now being harvested, is estimated at 439 000 tonnes, some 23 percent higher than last year, due mainly to favourable weather conditions. If rains do not fall in Shabwah, current desert locust infestations are likely to concentrate as a result of drying conditions, and small bands and swarmlets may form. Laying could occur on the coastal plains.