FAO/GIEWS - Food Outlook No.5 - November 1999 p. 5

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Harvesting of the 1999 main-season paddy crops is proceeding in a number of countries in the Northern Hemisphere. Growing conditions have been generally favourable and record harvests are expected in some countries. In the Southern Hemisphere and around the equatorial belt, the 1999 paddy season is virtually complete and, in some cases, preparations for the 2000 season are already underway. Due to a combination of larger plantings and higher yields, production in several countries is estimated higher than last year's depressed level and, in some, paddy output has set all-time peaks. Based on crop estimates in the Southern Hemisphere and expectations of bumper harvests in several countries in the Northern Hemisphere, FAO is provisionally forecasting global paddy output in 1999 to reach 590 million tonnes, baring any unforeseen weather-related problems, well above the previous high of 578 million tonnes reached in 1997.


FAO's latest estimate of the region's 1999 wheat output has been revised upward slightly to some 258 million tonnes, about 3 million tonnes up from last year, but still down on 1997's bumper crop of 266 million tonnes. For the region's 1999 coarse grain crop, the overall outlook remains satisfactory. Aggregate output is now estimated at 220.6 million tonnes, about 5 million tonnes down from the forecast in August and 2.5 million tonnes, down from last year. The latest revision mostly reflects reduced estimates for China and India. Despite a few isolated cases of flooding in some countries, conditions have been generally favourable for the main rice crops in the region so far. Promising harvests are underway in many countries and the regional paddy output in 1999 is forecast to increase by about 10 million tonnes from the previous season to 535 million tonnes.

In the Far East countries of the region, wheat production in China is estimated at 112 million tonnes, slightly up from 1998, despite a serious drought last winter which affected the crop in several parts. Output in India in 1999 reached a record 73.5 million tonnes, 7.6 million tonnes above last year and over 4 million tonnes above the previous record in 1997. A record wheat crop of 1.9 million tonnes was also harvested in Bangladesh, around 5 percent up from last year. In Pakistan, latest information puts the 1999 wheat harvest at 18.2 million tonnes, up 200 000 tonnes from the forecast in the previous report. At this level, production would be about 500 000 tonnes less than last year, but still well up on the five year average. In many countries of the region, winter wheat sowing will commence soon for the 2000 harvest from April next year. The target for next year's harvest in India has been set at 74 million tonnes, similar to this year's record crop, while Pakistan is targeting for a 10 percent increase in output to 20 million tonnes.

With regards to coarse grains, aggregate production in China is now estimated at 145 million tonnes, 2 million tonnes down from the previous report but still some 3 million tonnes up on last year. In India, coarse grain production is now estimated at about 29 million tonnes, some 3.5 million tonnes down from the earlier forecast and about 2.5 million tonnes below last year. Crops have been affected by the erratic monsoon season which has led to excessive rainfall in some parts and drought conditions in others.

In China (Mainland), the aggregate paddy production for the 1999/2000 season is forecast at 195 million tonnes, 2 percent more than the flood-reduced crop last year. Gathering of the double early-rice (summer) crop, the first and smallest of the three crops, has been concluded and harvesting of the single-rice (autumn) crop is nearing completion. There are indications that output from the early-rice crop is slightly larger than last year's, despite a small drop in area, due to a reduction of the state purchasing prices for inferior quality grains, which include early rice. The harvest of the double late-rice (winter) crop is set to begin soon. In Viet Nam, harvesting of the summer-autumn crop, the last of three crops for the 1998/99 season, is virtually complete and output is estimated at 8.1 million tonnes, up from 7.5 million tonnes the previous year, bringing the total for the season to a record 30 million tonnes. Collecting of the 10th-Month crop, the first of three crops for the 1999/2000 season, is ongoing while planting of the winter-spring crop is scheduled to start in November. Assuming good weather conditions, production for 1999/2000 is tentatively forecast to match the 1998/99 estimated record. Gathering of the main-season crop is in progress in the Philippines and, based on current reports, a good output is anticipated. Assuming favourable conditions for the rest of the season, the expectation is for an increase of 12 percent in the 1999/2000 paddy output to about 11.5 million tonnes, reflecting both a larger area and better growing conditions than in the previous year. In addition, farmers' increased use of high yielding varieties and an improved irrigation system are expected to contribute to the increase in this year's paddy production.


Coarse grains
( . . . . . . . . . . . million tonnes . . . . . . . . . )
1 002.8
1 013.4
Central America
South America
North America
2 073.1
2 060.7
(383) 1/
(395) 1/
(1 883) 2/
(1 866) 2/
Developing countries
1 209.2
1 217.0
Developed countries

1/ Rice in milled terms. 2/ Including rice in milled terms.

In Thailand, the heavy rains during July and August have had a minimal negative impact on rice crops. Harvesting of the 1999/2000 main-season crop is in progress and the Government is forecasting production of about 18.9 million tonnes of paddy, up 3 percent from the previous year. Overall, the country's 1999/2000 total production could reach 23 million tonnes, assuming an average output of about 4 million tonnes from the second crop. In Myanmar, gathering of the main-season crop is in progress and planting of the secondary crop is set to start next month. The 1999 paddy output is forecast at 17.5 million tonnes, close to last year's level. In Japan, the 1999 paddy season is coming to a close and output is estimated at 11.3 million tonnes, slightly up from last year. Although plantings were unchanged from last year at about 1.8 million hectares, notwithstanding the lowering of the support price, crops benefited from above-average growing conditions. In Cambodia, harvesting of the 1999/2000 wet-season crop is underway and planting of the dry-season crop is expected to start in November. Overall, the Government provisionally forecasts a 9 percent expansion in paddy output from last year to 3.8 million tonnes, due to a 7 percent increase in area and a slight improvement in yields. In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the 1999 paddy season was not as badly affected by a combination of drought and heavy rains as earlier expected. In addition, fertilizer use increased during the season, helped by increased foreign aid of fertilizers. Consequently, the 1999 paddy output is expected to be slightly better than last year's. Reports from the Republic of Korea indicate that the damage to rice crops from typhoons that hit some parts of the country during late July/early August was less than that of the previous year. The area planted to rice in 1999 was similar to the previous season at about 1.1 million hectares and, assuming slightly better yields than in 1998, paddy output is forecast at about 7.1 million tonnes.

In Bangladesh, there has been some localized flood-related damage to rice crops in a few districts but, overall, the impact was very minimal. Gathering of the Aus crop for the 1999/2000 season is complete and output is estimated at 1.8 million tonnes, 13 percent more than last year. Planting of the Aman (main season) crop has been completed and harvesting is expected to start in November. In India, harvesting of the main season Kharif rice crop is underway and, owing to a combination of larger area and good growing conditions, the Government is expecting a record paddy output of about 113 million tonnes. Overall, the forecast for the country's 1999/2000 paddy production is tentatively put at a record 129 million tonnes. In Pakistan, harvesting of the paddy crop is proceeding and preliminary indications point towards yet another bumper crop, with output tentatively expected to expand by about 3 percent from last year to a record 7.3 million tonnes. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, gathering of the 1999 rice crop has been concluded, but the season was plagued by weather-related problems including what has been described as the worst drought in 30 years. Consequently, paddy output is estimated to have fallen by 18 percent from the previous season to 2.3 million tonnes.

In Indonesia, harvesting of the 1999 second-season crop is underway and planting of the 2000 main-season crop is set to start soon. Paddy output for the 1999 season is forecast at about 49.5 million tonnes, up by 300 000 tonnes from 1998. The increase is attributed to a 2 percent raise in yields which would more than offset a slight decline in area. In Sri Lanka, harvesting of the Yala (secondary) crop is ongoing and the Government is forecasting an output of about 980 000 tonnes. Overall, the 1999 total paddy output is forecast to expand marginally from the previous year to 2.7 million tonnes, falling short of the Government target of over 3 million tonnes.

In the Near East countries in Asia, reflecting low precipitation and an outbreak of pests, wheat production was sharply reduced in Afghanistan. Similarly, severe drought conditions have sharply reduced production in Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Turkey. In Saudi Arabia, the 1999 wheat crop is estimated at 1.5 million tonnes, about 17 percent below last year.

In the eight CIS countries in Asia, the 1999 grain (cereals and pulses) harvest is forecast to recover to 20 million tonnes, from 17 million tonnes last year. The 1999 wheat harvest is forecast to increase by 2 million tonnes, mainly reflecting better yields in Kazakhstan, but also in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Georgia. Production of coarse grains is forecast at 3.4 million tonnes compared to 3 million tonnes in 1998. In Kazakhstan, the aggregate area sown to cereals declined to 11.3 million hectares, but dry, relatively warm weather has prolonged the harvesting window into October and the final area harvested may not be much less than last year's. Growing conditions have been mostly satisfactory and yields are nearly twice last year's reduced level. Indications are that the 1999 grain harvest could exceed 9.7 million tonnes, including 7.5 million tonnes of wheat (1998: 5.5 million tonnes). Turkmenistan achieved a record grain harvest of 1.5 million tonnes (mainly wheat) in response to better incentives, and increased use of imported high-grade seed and fertilizer on a smaller area (570 000 ha). In Uzbekistan, the 1999 winter grain harvest is officially reported to be 3.9 million tonnes and includes 3.7 million tonnes of wheat (1998: 3.6 million tonnes). In addition, the country produces maize and paddy in the summer and the aggregate grain harvest could reach 4.45 million tonnes, compared to last year's 4.3 million tonnes. In most of the other CIS countries in the region, however, the outlook is for lower grain harvests. In Kyrgyzstan, the trend to diversify out of grains has continued while hurricanes and hailstorms also damaged crops. Wheat production in 1999 is expected to be about 1.2 million tonnes, somewhat less than last year. In Tajikistan, latest reports indicate that the decline in the area sown was not as sharp as originally feared, but yields are reported to be very low. The 1999 grain harvest is likely to be a poor 430 000 tonnes, 70 000 tonnes less than last year. In the Caucasus, low grain prices in the face of cheap exports form the Russian Federation in the wake of the rouble devaluation in 1998 resulted in a reduction in the winter grain (mostly wheat) area sown and the outlook is for reduced crops in 1999 in Armenia and Azerbaijan. By contrast, in Georgia, good growing conditions have offset the area reduction and the aggregate grain harvest could increase by 10 percent to 880 000 tonnes and include 280 000 (1998: 200 000 tonnes) tonnes of wheat.


NORTHERN AFRICA: Wheat production in the sub-region is estimated at about 11.5 million tonnes, some 17 percent below the 1998 level. The major reduction occurred in Morocco where output fell to 2.1 million tonnes, about half of the 1998 level, as a result of inadequate rainfall and reduced plantings. In Algeria, output also dropped sharply, by 25 percent, to about 1.5 million tonnes. By contrast, in Tunisia, output increased by 3 percent to 1.4 million tonnes. The irrigated wheat crop in Egypt also rose and is estimated at 6.3 million tonnes, about 4 percent up from last year.

The coarse grains crop in the sub-region, which was also affected by unfavourable weather, is estimated at 9.1 millions tonnes, about 15 percent below last year's level. This reflects reduced output in Algeria, Egypt and Morocco, while in Tunisia, production is expected to increase by about 30 percent.

In Egypt, harvesting of the 1999 rice crop is underway. Official estimates indicate that the area expanded by over 30 percent from the previous year to 675 000 hectares, while reflecting favourable growing conditions and sufficient and timely availability of inputs, yields are expected to set a new record of over 8.8 tonnes per hectare. As a result, a 31 percent increase in paddy output to almost 6 million tonnes is anticipated.

WESTERN AFRICA: In western Africa, coarse grains are about to be harvested. In the Sahel, overall crop prospects are favourable following generally widespread and abundant rains since July. Normal to above-normal harvests are anticipated in most countries. However, high water levels in the Senegal and Niger rivers caused flooding, notably in Mauritania. Prospects for recession and off-season irrigated crops are good. A series of joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Missions are scheduled in all the Sahelian countries in late October to estimate 1999 cereal production. In the coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea, growing conditions have been generally favourable and output of the main crop which is currently being harvested is expected to be normal to above-normal. Torrential rains in late September and October caused localized floodings in some countries and might have affected the harvest of the main crops, notably in Nigeria. Production prospects are favourable in Liberia excepted in the Lofa county where insecurity in August and September disrupted agricultural activities. No recovery in production is expected in Sierra Leone, which will continue to rely heavily on humanitarian assistance to meet its consumption needs in 2000.

Harvesting of the 1999 paddy crop has started in some countries and is about to begin in others. Growing conditions have been generally favourable in several countries across the sub-region despite a few isolated weather-related problems, in addition to civil strife which continues to disrupt agricultural activities in some countries. Overall, the sub-region's paddy output is expected to increase slightly from last year to about 7.2 million tonnes. In Nigeria, the largest producer in the sub-region, the Government re-introduced a 25 percent subsidy for fertilizers which is expected to lead to increased use.

CENTRAL AFRICA: In central Africa, abundant rains benefited coarse grains in Cameroon and Central African Republic. Civil strife in the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has impeded normal agricultural and marketing activities. In eastern DRC, plantings for the A season are about to start.

EASTERN AFRICA: Prospects for the 1999 wheat crop are uncertain in Ethiopia reflecting delayed and poorly distributed rains in some major producing areas. In Kenya, where the harvest is underway, output is expected to be well-below average due to drought. In Sudan, wheat output in 1999 is estimated at about 165 000 tonnes, 70 percent below the average for the last five years, due to reduced plantings, late sowing and high temperatures.

Harvesting of the 1999 coarse grain crops is about to start in northern areas of the sub-region, while it has been completed in southern parts. Preliminary forecasts indicate an overall reduction in output mainly due to drought, pests and civil conflict. In Somalia, despite some recovery from last year's sharply reduced harvest, the 1999 "Gu" output, is estimated at 136 000 tonnes, about 32 percent below the post-war average, due to drought and civil unrest. In Tanzania, the latest forecast puts coarse grains output at 3.2 million tonnes, about 4 percent below the five-year average due to erratic rains. In Uganda, the recently harvested first-season coarse grain crops were affected by prolonged drought in some areas and the aggregate output is estimated to be below last year's crop. In Kenya, the output of the maize crop, being harvested, is forecast to be below average due to drought and pest infestation in major producing areas. In Ethiopia, the 1998/99 secondary season "belg" crops harvested earlier this year failed due to drought and the outlook for the 1999/2000 main season "meher" crops, to be harvested from December/January, is uncertain due to the late start of rains which delayed land preparation and planting of long-cycle crops. In Eritrea, average to above-average rains during the season benefited developing crops in most producing areas of the country and prospects for the harvest are favourable. In the Sudan, despite some reported flooding, overall prospects for this year's coarse grains are favourable as a result of abundant rains during the season.

Paddy production in Eastern Africa is expected to decline from last year mostly due to insufficient rainfall. Rice harvesting is complete in Tanzania, the major rice producing country in the sub-region, and output for 1999 is provisionally estimated at about 800 000 tonnes, down by 20 percent from the previous year. In addition to erratic rains, reduced use of fertilizers contributed to lower yields.

SOUTHERN AFRICA: FAO's latest estimate of the sub-region's 1999 coarse grain output is 15.3 million tonnes, some 3 percent above last year but 7 percent below the average of the past five years. Favourable rains early in the growing season encouraged increased planting, but yields were affected by excessive rains in some areas and by prolonged dry spell in others. In South Africa, the largest producer of the sub-region maize output declined 8 percent from the already below-average level last year to 7 million tonnes. In Angola, maize output fell by 15 percent, in spite of favourable growing conditions, due to disruption caused by the on-going civil conflict. In Swaziland maize output declined 18 percent from last year but remained about average. Although throughout the other countries of the sub-region coarse grain production increased from 1998, it remained at well below average levels in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, Botswana, and Namibia. However, in Malawi and Mozambique record crops were obtained, leaving exportable surpluses in both countries.

The 1999 wheat crop harvest is underway in the sub-region. Early prospects are poor reflecting another reduced crop in South Africa, which accounts for about 80 percent of the sub-region's production. Latest official forecasts indicate an output of 1.5 million tonnes, almost unchanged from last year. By contrast, in Zimbabwe, output is forecast to rise due to increased plantings and yields.

The 1999 paddy season has been concluded in the sub-region and output in Madagascar, which accounts for over 90 percent of the sub-region's rice production, is estimated at about 2.6 million tonnes, up 8 percent from the previous year. Although rains were late to start at the beginning of the season, rainfall during the season was abundant and, unlike last year, losses due to the Malagasy Migratory Locusts were limited by control measures implemented during the latter part of 1998 and the beginning of 1999. In Mozambique, paddy output for the 1999 season is estimated at a new record of 214 000 tonnes compared to the previous record last year of 192 000 tonnes, a consequence of favourable growing conditions and a slight expansion in area.


States of alert or emergency have been declared in several Central American countries following storm rains and heavy flooding since mid-September. The situation is particularly grave in some localized parts which were severely affected last year by the passage of hurricane "Mitch". Despite a mass evacuation of people from the danger areas, an increasing number of casualties is reported, as well as substantial damage to housing and infrastructure. Moreover, although it is too early to assess the full extent of the damage, the incessant rains and floods have already affected plantations of important export crops, such as bananas and sugar cane, and could have some impact on the 1999 second season coarse grain crop. In the Caribbean, some of the Leeward Islands were affected by hurricane winds and rains in mid-October, and damage to housing and infrastructure is reported.

The main wheat producing areas in the north-west of Mexico were not affected by the recent hurricane rains and planting of the 1999/2000 irrigated wheat crop has started. The area to be planted remains uncertain because, despite light rains from the tail end of recent hurricanes, water reservoir levels remain below-normal due to the preceding long dry spell.

Planting of the 1999/2000 second season coarse grain and bean crops, has been delayed in the sub-region as a direct consequence of the heavy rains. A preliminary assessment of damage to second-season plantings and to the recently harvested first-season crops has been conducted in some countries. Despite losses incurred, aggregate outputs of maize (both crops) are provisionally forecast to be near-average in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, while in Honduras, below-average outputs are expected. In Mexico, where harvesting of the important spring/summer maize crop had just started when the recent adverse weather struck, some localized cases of crop damage are reported, principally in the states of Pueba, Veracruz, Hidalgo and Tabasco, as well as in the important maize producing state of Chiapas. However, this is not expected to affect the overall 1999 production because the outlook is still favourable for the other major producing areas in the country. In the Caribbean, in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, average crops of cereals and other basic foods are expected, mainly reflecting favourable weather conditions and recovery programmes implemented by the Government following the adverse affects of last year's hurricane "Georges". In Cuba, above-normal rains in the last two months have partly replenished soil moisture deficits in several parts of the country caused by prolonged drought; however, deficits are still reported in the eastern parts which are likely to be aggravated with the onset of the dry season. Harvesting of the 1999/2000 first-season cereal crops is underway and early forecasts point to an average production.


In Argentina, recent weather conditions have continued to favour the developing 1999/2000 wheat crop. Harvesting is due to start from mid-October and a slightly above-average output is provisionally forecast. In Brazil, generally dry weather in the main producing southern states has benefited harvesting operations and output is expected to be about average. In Paraguay and Uruguay, where harvesting has recently started, prospects are good and average to above-average outputs respectively are anticipated. In Chile, planting of the 2000 crop is underway and increased plantings after last year's drought-affected area are expected. In the Andean countries, in Bolivia, harvesting of the 1999 second season winter wheat crop (planted April/May), mostly in the eastern Department of Santa Cruz, is underway. A below-average output is expected because of lower-than-normal yields so far, largely due to a dry spell at planting. In Peru, the bulk of the 1999 wheat harvest has been completed under generally dry weather and output for the year is provisionally estimated at a slightly-below average level, while in Ecuador, an average output has been gathered.

Planting of the 1999/2000 coarse grain crops in Argentina has started under generally dry conditions. Soil moisture, however, is reported to be adequate and the area planted to maize is expected to increase from last year's average, in response to attractive prices. Also in Brazil, planting of the maize crop continues under generally dry weather, but favourable soil moisture conditions. Plantings are forecast to increase from 1998/99, mainly in anticipation of some improvement in local maize prices. In Chile, sowing of the 1999/2000 maize crop has started under generally dry conditions. Assuming normal rains resume, plantings are expected to increase considerably from last year when the crops were severely affected by drought. In the Andean countries, in Bolivia, planting of the 1999/2000 first-season maize crop has just started in some parts of the country under generally dry conditions. In Peru, planting of the 1999/2000 white and yellow maize crops are well underway, while harvesting of the 1999 crops has been virtually completed. A slightly above-average output is provisionally estimated. In Colombia, normal to abundant rains since September have benefited the development of the 1999/2000 first-season cereal crops. Harvesting is underway and although a decline in maize output from last year is anticipated, production would still be about average. In Venezuela, storm rains and flooding in various states have affected crops. Harvesting of the 1999 maize and sorghum crops has been completed and, despite the damage incurred, near-average outputs are estimated.

Harvesting of the 1999 paddy crop is complete in the sub-region and paddy output is estimated at 21 million tonnes, 25 percent above last year's crop that was affected by El Niño-related weather problems. Planting of the 2000 paddy crop has begun in some countries, but information on farmers' planting intentions is still lacking.


In the United States, the October USDA crop report put the 1999 aggregate wheat (winter and spring) output at 63.1 million tonnes, 9 percent down from 1998 and slightly below the average of the past five years. Planting of winter wheat for harvest next year is well underway and progressing just ahead of the normal pace aided by favourably dry weather in most of the Great Plains in late September and early October. However, some areas are reported to be in need of more moisture to germinate recently planted fields. As of 12 October, about 70 percent of the expected total winter wheat area had been planted, compared to 56 percent a year earlier and a five-year average of 64 percent. At the same date, 39 percent of the winter wheat crop had emerged, compared to 23 percent at the same time last year and the five-year average of 38 percent. With regard to the final area to be sown to wheat this autumn, there remains considerable uncertainty. With current new crop prices (futures prices) for wheat lower than those at the same time last year, there is little incentive for farmers to increase plantings and they may continue the shift towards alternative crops in search of better returns. In Canada, the wheat harvest was well advanced as of early October, although slightly behind the average rate. Late seeding, slow crop development resulting from a cool, damp, growing season, and harvest delays because of adverse weather have all contributed to the slower than normal harvest progress this autumn. Good quality is reported for the early-seeded crops but some frost damage is expected to lead to downgrading of the later-seeded crops. The latest official forecast in early October put 1999 wheat output at some 25.9 million tonnes, slightly up from pre-harvest forecasts due to better than expected yields. At the forecast level, output would be some 7 percent up from last year but about 5 percent below the 10-year average.

The outlook for the United States 1999 coarse grain crop remains generally satisfactory. The USDA's October forecast put aggregate coarse grain production at 264 million tonnes, about 8 million tonnes below last year's output. Maize is expected to account for most of the reduction, with production forecast to drop by about 8 million tonnes to some 240 million tonnes, while some reductions in the barley, oats and rye crops are also forecast. However, by contrast, a larger sorghum crop is in prospect. By 12 October, virtually the entire maize crop was reported to be mature, and the overall rate of harvesting was well ahead of the average for the past five years. In Canada, aggregate coarse grain production is expected to decrease in 1999 to 25.6 million tonnes, 3 percent down from last year but 6 percent higher than the 10-year average.

In the United States, harvesting of the 1999 paddy crop is well advanced and by the beginning of October about 80 percent of the crop had been gathered. The forecast of total paddy output in 1999 has been adjusted downward by about 100 000 tonnes from the previous report to 9.6 million tonnes, based on latest information of slightly lower yields and harvested area than had been expected. However, the prospective output would still be a record.


FAO's latest estimates put the region's aggregate 1999 cereal output at nearly 382 million tonnes, 3 percent down from last year. Output of wheat is estimated at some 176 million tonnes, about 6 percent less than in 1998, while production of coarse grains is seen virtually unchanged at 202 million tonnes. The region's small paddy crop is estimated at 3.1 million tonnes.

FAO's latest forecast puts aggregate 1999 cereal production in the EC at almost 202 million tonnes, some 4 percent down from last year but above the average of the past 5 years. The decline in output is largely a result of reduced area due to a 5 percent increase in the compulsory set-aside requirements and adverse weather. Wheat output is now estimated at 97.6 million tonnes, 5 percent down from 1998. The bulk of the reduction occurred in France, where output is estimated to be down by about 3 million tonnes from 1998 at 37 million tonnes. Other significant reductions among the EC's major producers are reported in Denmark, Spain and Germany. Aggregate output of coarse grains is now forecast at 101.6 million tonnes, 4 percent down from last year. In the EC, harvesting of the 1999 paddy crop is in progress and the expectation is for output to be close to last year's official estimate of about 2.6 million tonnes.

In Albania, 1999 cereal output is estimated to have fallen to about 0.5 million tonnes (including 0.3 million tonnes of wheat). Adverse weather affected the autumn wheat planting and farmers' preference away from traditional cereals towards more lucrative cash crops continues to limit cereal area. In Bosnia Herzegovina, the current outlook is for both wheat and coarse grain production to remain stable at about 200 000 tonnes and 900 000 tonnes respectively. In Bulgaria, wheat output has fallen well below average in 1999 to an estimated 2.6 million tonnes due to smaller plantings and reduced fertilizer applications. Furthermore, widespread disease and pest infestations this year are expected to render a large proportion of the crop unfit for food use. Maize output is also estimated down somewhat in 1999, at about 1.5 million tonnes, due to reduced plantings and hot dry weather this summer, which affected yields. In Croatia the 1999 wheat harvest has roughly halved and both the area and yield of coarse grains also fell reflecting mainly economic problems and excessive rains. In the Czech Republic, aggregate cereal output in 1999 is estimated at 6.9 million tonnes, slightly up from last year with better yields more than offsetting a reduction in area. Of the total, wheat is estimated to account for just over 4 million tonnes.

In the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, (Serbia and Montenegro), the 1999 wheat harvest reached only 2.2 million tonnes, some 27 percent less than output in 1998. Despite disruptions caused by the conflict this year and shortages of fuel and spare parts, official indications are that the spring grain area increased and coarse grain production is forecast at 6.5 million tonnes. In Hungary, latest estimates put this year's wheat output as low as 2.6 million tonnes, almost half that of 1998 due to sharply reduced plantings and severe rains and flooding. By contrast, coarse grain output is estimated to be up slightly reflecting a larger maize crop which more than offset reduced output of the other coarse grains. In Poland, the 1999 cereal output is estimated at about 26.5 million tonnes, somewhat below last year's bumper level but above the average of the past five years. In Romania, the 1999 cereal harvest is estimated at about 16.5 million tonnes. The wheat harvest is now forecast at only 4.6 million tonnes, compared to 5.2 million tonnes in the previous year, due to smaller plantings and also reflecting crop damage due to floods and torrential rains in the summer. By contrast, the summer maize crop is expected to recover to about 10.5 million tonnes from last year's low level.

In the Slovak Republic, cereal production in 1999 is estimated at some 3.3 million tonnes, just below last year and slightly below the average of the past five years. A sharp reduction in wheat output to about 1.2 million tonnes has been only partially offset by a larger coarse grains crop (mostly barley and maize). In Slovenia, the 1999 cereal output is estimated at about 500 000 tonnes (including 155 000 tonnes of wheat), 15 percent below last year's good crop and below the average of the past five years. The winter wheat area fell and adverse summer weather is reported to have affected yields. In The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, cereal production in 1999 is estimated to be slightly above last year's crop at about 770 000 tonnes (including 380 000 tonnes of wheat).

In the Baltic countries, low grain prices have depressed the areas sown to grains and input use. Aggregate grain output is forecast to fall to 3.7 million tonnes from 4.5 million tonnes in 1998. The aggregate area sown to wheat fell by 16 percent, and the 1999 harvest is forecast at 1.2 million tonnes of wheat (1998: 1.6 million tonnes). All three countries have lower output, but the reduction is most marked in Lithuania where the 1999-grain harvest is officially put at 2.1 million tonnes, compared to 2.7 million tonnes last year.
In the CIS countries west of the Ural Mountains, latest indications are that the 1999 grain (cereal and pulse) harvest may be only marginally larger than last year's drought reduced output. With harvesting of grains other than maize nearing completion, FAO forecasts the aggregate output of grains in Belarus, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine at 92.5 million tonnes only 2.5 million tonnes more than output in 1998. Aggregate production of wheat in these four countries is forecast at 48.4 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from last year's drought reduced output of 48.8 million tonnes. With maize harvesting not yet completed, the aggregate production of coarse grains is tentatively forecast at 41.5 million tonnes, some 2.7 million tonnes more than in 1998. In Belarus, economic problems, spring frost and summer dryness reduced the 1999 grain harvest to 3.7 million tonnes, a record low (1998: 4.9 million tonnes). In Moldova, indications are that the 1999 aggregate grain harvest could fall to 2.1 million tonnes (1998: 2.5 million tonnes); output of wheat is officially put at only 800 000 tonnes (1998: 1.0 million tonnes); while the coarse grain harvest may only reach 1.2 million tonnes (1998: 1.4 million tonnes). In the Russian Federation, where harvesting in Siberia has been delayed by poor weather and machinery shortages, FAO provisionally forecasts the aggregate output of grains at 59 million tonnes, some 5 million tonnes more than last year's crop of 54 million tonnes. Better average yields have offset a 12 percent decline in the area sown to wheat and output is forecast at 31 million tonnes, 1 million tonnes more than last year's. Output of coarse grains is tentatively forecast to increase by 4 million tonnes to 26 million tonnes. In Ukraine, the 1999 grain harvest is likely to remain fairly close to last year's, estimated by FAO at 29 million tonnes. Crop yields were adversely affected by inadequate use of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as dry conditions during the autumn, frost damage in May and hot dry weather in some areas in June/July. Output of wheat is forecast by FAO to fall by 1 million tonnes to 16 million tonnes, while that of coarse grains could increase marginally, but the outcome will depend on the maize harvest.


Latest information confirms that another bumper wheat harvest is in prospect in Australia. Timely rainfall in early October in most of the eastern states' wheat areas boosted the yield potential of the crops which were already in good condition. The latest official forecast puts the 1999 wheat crop at 21.9 million tonnes, about 4 percent up from last year and well above the average of the past 5 years. The recent rains also benefited the

winter coarse grain crops (mostly barley and oats). However, reflecting reduced plantings of barley and oats, and despite good summer coarse grain crops of sorghum and maize harvested earlier this year, aggregate coarse grains production in 1999 is expected to decline somewhat to about 8.1 million tonnes compared to 8.9 million tonnes in 1998. In Australia, preparations for the 2000 paddy season are underway and output is officially forecast at 1.3 million tonnes from an area of about 150 000 hectares. However, the final outcome will largely depend on the availability of irrigation water in New South Wales where most of the rice is produced.

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