AUSTRALIA (4 June)
Planting of the 1999 winter wheat and coarse grain crops is underway. latest indications still point to a marginal increase in area this year. after some delays due dry conditions april early-maywidespread rains late-may improved favoured early crop development. with subsoil moisture levels reported be generally adequate support through middle late part seasonprospects for remainder are favourable another good expected at about 21.3 million tonnesmarginally above previous years level. barleywhich normally planted little later than remain similar last 5.4 tonnes. paddy harvest almost complete reflecting very growing throughoutoutput forecast reach 1.35up slightly from close record established 1997.
FIJI (25 June)
earlier this yearheavy rains and floods led to serious flooding in the western region of viti levu. cost damage was estimated at over us$2.34 million. 1998sugar production severely affected by droughtwhich reduced output 250 000 tonnescompared an around 450 average year. >
Following the La Niņa related drought FAO is processing an assistance project for the distribution of vegetable and cassava seeds.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA (25 June)
the country has received normal to above-normal rains during current growing seasonwhich benefited crops. prospects for cropsmainly roots and tubers be harvested from juneappear good. however food situation is expected remain difficult vulnerable groups those who lacked basic inputs such as seeds cuttings at planting time. >