COSTA RICA (3 February)
Harvesting of the 1999/2000 second season cereal crops has been virtually completed. Part of the crop has been affected by heavy rains and flooding in early January, particularly in the growing areas around the Atlantic coast. Cash crops are also reported to be affected. Despite possible losses incurred, maize (white) output for the whole year is estimated at a near-average 27 000 tonnes, which compares to 32 000 tonnes in the previous year. Harvesting of the bean crops, an important staple in the population’s diet, is well advanced and about 19 000 tonnes are provisionally forecast, which represents an increase over last year’s 16 700 tonnes. Production of paddy in 1999 is estimated at an above-average 285 000 tonnes. Some 90 000 tonnes of rice will nevertheless be required as imports in 2000 (January/December) to meet domestic demand.
CUBA (3 February)
Despite some recovery in water reservoir levels due to heavy rains in November, overall, the level of moisture continues to be low in extreme provinces of the country, particularly the south-eastern areas of Camaguey, the southern parts of Las Tunas, central Granma and the northern parts of Guantanamo. Close monitoring of moisture conditions and reservoir levels is required, as the beginning of the rainy season is still some weeks away and planting of the important irrigated paddy crop, as well as of the rainfed maize crop, are due to start from March/April. Dry weather since December has favoured harvesting of the 1999/2000 sugar cane crop, the most important export, and latest official forecasts indicate that between 4.1 and 4.4 million tonnes should be produced, compared to 3.8 tonnes in 1998/1999. Food assistance from the international community continues to be provided to last year’s drought affected population.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (3 February)
f Harvesting of the 1999/2000 cereal crops has been recently completed while land is being prepared for planting of the 2000/2001 first season coarse grain crops. Maize output is estimated at about 37 000 tonnes, slightly above the 35 000 tonnes produced in 1998/99, when crops were affected by Hurricane “Georges”. Production of sorghum is estimated at 22 000 tonnes which compares to the last 5-year average of 18 000 tonnes. Paddy output in 1999 (January/December) was 500 000 tonnes, similar to 1998, when production was above average. Output of other minor foodcrops has been satisfactory.
Maize imports of some 650 000 tonnes to 700 000 tonnes would nevertheless be required in the next marketing year, largely to meet strong demand from the animal feed industry.
EL SALVADOR (3 February)
Harvesting of the 1999/2000 third season “apante” maize and bean crops is about to start while harvesting of the second season paddy crop has begun under generally dry weather conditions. Production forecasts point to a satisfactory maize output for the whole year of some 680 000 tonnes, which compares to 555 000 tonnes collected in the 1998/99 season and to the last 5-year average of 563 000 tonnes. By contrast, sorghum output is provisionally estimated at a below-average 147 000 tonnes. Paddy output collected in 1999 was an average 58 000 tonnes, which compares to 50 000 in 1998. Production of beans is also expected to recover from last year’s low 46 000 tonnes and an average 66 000 tonnes is anticipated.
Maize imports in marketing year 1999/2000 (August/July), mostly for the feed industry, is forecast to decrease from 1998/99 import volume of 264 000 tonnes to about 150 000 tonnes.
GUATEMALA (3 February)
Harvesting of the 1999/2000 second season cereal crops has been completed and land is being prepared for planting of the 2000/2001 crops to be started from April. Maize output collected for the whole year is provisionally estimated at 1.2 million tonnes, about 7 percent above last year’s average production. Sorghum output is estimated at 50 000 tonnes, lower than last year's 52 000 tonnes but above the last 5- year average of 45 000 tonnes.
Maize imports, mainly yellow, in marketing year 1999/2000 (July/June) are forecast to be about 550 000 tonnes, similar to 1998/99.
HAITI* (3 February)
Harvesting of the 1999/2000 second season coarse grain crops is about to be completed while planting of the 2000 first season irrigated paddy crop has recently started and sowing of the 2000/2001 first season bean crop is due to start from March. Weather conditions have favoured the developing second season maize and sorghum crops and average outputs for the whole year are provisionally estimated. Maize output should be about 190 000 tonnes, which compares to the last 5-year average of 195 000 tonnes, while production of sorghum should be at about 80 000 tonnes. By contrast, production of paddy in 1999 is estimated at a below-average 70 000 tonnes. Food assistance from the international community continues to be distributed through development projects to some sectors of the population. About 7 000 tonnes have been distributed so far against pledges of 70 000 tonnes so far.
Maize commercial imports in the 1999/2000 marketing year (July/June) are forecast to increase to some 70 000 tonnes from 50 000 tonnes in the previous year. Rice imports in year 2000 (January/December) are forecast to be close to 1999 imports of some 170 000 tonnes.
HONDURAS (3 February)
Harvesting of the 1999/2000 second season coarse grain and bean crops is well advanced. Maize output for the year (first and second season crops) is provisionally forecast at some 450 000 tonnes, which is lower than the 1998/99 crop of 505 000 tonnes, which was affected by Hurricane “Mitch”. Production of sorghum is put at a below-average 60 000 tonnes. Paddy output in 1999 is also estimated at a low 12 000 tonnes. This is largely due to reduced plantings as a consequence of low producer prices. Food assistance from the international community continues to be distributed to the hurricane affected population.
Maize imports in 1999/2000 marketing year (July/June) is forecast to increase from 240 000 tonnes in 1998/99 to some 260 000 tonnes.
MEXICO (3 February)
Harvesting of the 1999/2000 irrigated wheat crop is about to start. Early forecasts indicate an output close to last year’s below-average 3.2 million tonnes, largely as a result of low water reservoir levels in the northwest growing areas coupled with adverse weather at planting in the central states of Guanajato and Jalisco. Harvesting of the important spring/summer maize crop has been virtually completed and production is anticipated to increase from last year’s 15.1 million tonnes to 15.7 million tonnes, despite the heavy rains and flooding which affected the crops in September/October. Production of maize for the year as whole is tentatively forecast to be at a slightly above-average 18.5 million tonnes. An above-average sorghum output of some 6.3 million tonnes is anticipated.
NICARAGUA (3 February)
Harvesting of the 1999/2000 third season “apante” maize and bean crops has started under generally dry weather. Growing conditions are reported to be good and maize output for the year is tentatively forecast to be a well above-average 371 000 tonnes, a significant recovery from 1998/99 Hurricane “Mitch” affected crop of 311 000 tonnes. Sorghum output for the year is also estimated at an above-average 83 000 tonnes, which compares to last year’s 111 000 tonnes. Production of milled rice was 162 000 tonnes which compares to the last five-year average of 132 000 tonnes. Food assistance from the international community continues to be provided to the hurricane affected population.