FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 11/98


ARGENTINA (23 November)

Decreased plantings with respect to 1997 are reported in the large producing central and western parts of Buenos Aires province and south-east of Cordoba, mainly reflecting farmers’ decision to switch to alternative crops attracted by better prices relative to wheat. A combination of excessive rains and generally dry conditions during the growing season, has also adversely affected the crop. Harvesting has started and early forecasts point to a reduced output of some 10.1 million tonnes, compared to 14.8 million tonnes produced in 1997. Planting of the 1998/99 maize crop, currently underway, has also been affected by the lack of adequate precipitation. The area planted is expected to decline considerably with respect to last year’s record level.

Sowing of the 1998/99 paddy crop continues and official forecasts indicate that enlarged plantings are anticipated relative to last year when the crops were severely affected by El Niño induced heavy rains and flooding.

BOLIVIA (2 November)

Dry weather conditions continue to prevail, particularly in the south-west and central parts of the country. In the eastern parts, where harvesting of the 1998 second season (winter) wheat crop is about to be completed, normal rains have resumed but lower than average yields have been obtained as the crop was severely affected at planting by a severe dry spell. Planting of the 1998/99 first (main) coarse grain crops, principally maize, as well as planting of the important potato crop, have started. The area planted is forecast to be close to last year; however, a recovery in production is provisionally forecast due to anticipated improved yields. The crops were severely affected last year by El Niño induced drought.

BRAZIL (23 November)

Harvesting of the 1998 wheat crop is about to be completed and production is expected to fall from last year’s 2.4 million tonnes to a slightly lower than average 2.2 million tonnes. This is the result of damaging rains in September in the largest wheat growing states of Parana and Rio Grande do Sul. Planting of the 1998/99 maize crop continues and plantings are expected to increase by over 10 percent with respect to last year when the crop, particularly in the north-east, was affected by El Niño-related weather. Considerably enlarged plantings are anticipated for the paddy crop, currently being sown.

CHILE (23 November)

A severe dry spell in the central parts of Chile is affecting the developing 1998/99 wheat crop, to be harvested from December. About 30 000 hectares of a total 380 000 hectares of cropped fields have been declared lost. A below-average output is expected. The 1998/99 maize crop, currently being planted, is also affected by the dry spell and plantings are forecast to be significantly below average. Latest weather forecasts indicate that current weather conditions should prevail in the months ahead.

COLOMBIA (23 November)

Harvesting of the 1998/99 first season maize crop has been completed while planting of the second season crop has only started under favourable weather conditions. Aggregate maize output (both seasons) is expected to be an above-average 1.2 million tonnes, which compares to last year’s El Niño affected crop of some 800 000 tonnes. Paddy production is also expected to increase from a low 900 000 tonnes in 1997 to something more than 1 million tonnes.

ECUADOR (23 November)

Planting of the 1998 second season coarse grain and paddy crops has been virtually completed. In the coastal areas, the irregular precipitation in September should not affect the developing maize and paddy crops. In the highlands, below-normal rains have been reported. Planting of the 1998 second season wheat crop and harvesting of the second season yellow maize crop have started. In the eastern areas, below- normal rains are also reported but with no adverse effect on the development of the second season yellow maize and paddy crops. Despite average results anticipated from the second season crops, aggregate 1998 cereal outputs should be considerably below- average levels due to the severe damage incurred by El Niño related effects to the first season crops.

GUYANA (23 November)

Normal to abundant rains have prevailed in November, which marks the beginning of the rainy season, benefiting planting of the important paddy crop, as well as fruits, cassava and other minor crops that had been severely affected earlier in the year because of El Niño induced drought. Prospects are also good for the foreign exchange earner sugar cane crop. Livestock pasture conditions have also considerably improved.

PERU (2 November)

Light to moderate rains have prevailed in the early half of October, following a dry spell in September which particularly affected the central and southern parts of the country, some of which continue to suffer from the lack of rain. The bulk of the 1998 wheat harvesting has been completed and an above-average output for the year is anticipated. The bulk of maize harvesting has been also completed and output is expected to be slightly above last year’s satisfactory output. By contrast, production of paddy is expected to decline from 1997 record level but should nevertheless remain about average. Good results are anticipated from the important potato crop.

SURINAME (23 November)

Normal to abundant rains have prevailed in November, which marks the beginning of the rainy season, benefiting planting of the vital foreign exchange earner paddy crop. A recovery in production is expected assuming normal weather conditions remain. The crop had been severely affected last year because of El Niño induced drought, forcing the country to import rice for the first time in history to meet domestic requirements.

URUGUAY (2 November)

Harvesting of the1998/99 wheat crop has started. Heavy rains in September affected the crop and a slightly lower than average output is expected. Harvesting of the barley crop has also started and a significant recovery is expected from last year’s El Niño affected crop.

Planting of the 1998/99 maize crop is underway for harvesting from March. Enlarged plantings are forecast, reflecting producers’ intentions to recover from the 1997/98 affected crop. Sowing of the important paddy crop is also underway for harvesting from March. The area planted is expected to increase considerably from the previous year weather affected crop as farmers are motivated by attractive prices and anticipated expanding exports

VENEZUELA (2 November)

Harvesting of the 1998 second season maize crop is underway while that of sorghum has been completed. An average maize output is provisionally forecast while sorghum production continued to decline for the third consecutive year, largely reflecting strong competing imports. Aggregate paddy output in 1998 (three crops) is provisionally forecast at an above-average level.