FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages No.2, April 2000

CENTRAL AMERICA (including the Caribbean)

COSTA RICA (27 March)

Land is being prepared for planting of the 2000/2001 first season cereal and bean crops to be started from April. Intended plantings of maize are expected to be close to last year's average. The area planted to paddy, the main cereal, should be slightly above average; however, production will not be enough to cover domestic demand for this important staple in the population's diet and some 90 000 tonnes to 100 000 tonnes will be required as imports in 2000 (January/December). Some 300 000 tonnes of maize, mostly yellow, will also be required as imports in 2000/2001 marketing year (July/June), similar to the previous year, in response to the steady demand from the animal feeding industry.

CUBA (27 March)

Land is being prepared, under generally dry weather, for planting of the important "spring" paddy crop to be started from April, while harvesting of the smaller "winter" crop is currently underway. Intended plantings for the spring crop are expected to be about average. Rice imports of some 400 000 tonnes will nevertheless be required to meet domestic demand. Harvesting of potatoes and other minor foodcrops is also underway and average outputs are anticipated. Harvesting of the sugar crop continues. Development of this crop has been somewhat affected by the scarcity of rains in the first two months of the year, but output in year 2000 is still expected to improve from last year's 3.8 million tonnes. Some 4 million tonnes are anticipated.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (27 March)

f Planting of year 2000 first season rainfed maize and sorghum crops has started under normal weather conditions, although dry weather is reported in isolated areas in the south and northwest of the country. Average plantings are intended, a considerable increase from 1999 below-average levels, when the area planted to both crops was severely affected by the impact of hurricane "Georges" at the end of 1998. Harvesting of the important irrigated paddy crop is due to start from May, and early forecasts point out to a slightly above- average output but not enough to meet domestic demand.

Maize imports in 2000/2001 marketing year (July/June) are forecast to be about 650 000 tonnes, largely to meet the strong demand from the poultry feeding industry, while rice imports in 2000 (January/December) are anticipated to be about 70 000 tonnes.

EL SALVADOR (27 March)

Fieldwork in preparation for planting of the 2000/2001 first season cereal and bean crops has started under generally dry weather conditions. Sowing should start with the arrival of the first rains which are expected in April. Intended plantings for maize, the main cereal, should be slightly above average while the area planted to sorghum is likely to be below the average of the last 5 years. Average plantings of paddy and beans are anticipated. Food assistance from the international community is still distributed as a component of the various reconstruction projects (food for work) implemented in the country following the passage of hurricane "Mitch" at the end of 1998.

Imports of wheat and maize in marketing year 2000/20001 (August/July) are provisionally forecast to remain close to the previous year's 180 000 tonnes and 175 000 tonnes respectively.

GUATEMALA (27 March)

Land is being prepared under generally dry weather for planting of the 2000/2001 first season cereal and bean crops to be started from April. Plantings of maize, the main cereal, are anticipated to be close to 1999/2000 slightly above-average level. The area planted to sorghum and paddy is also expected to be about average. Sowing of the important bean crop is due to start from May and average plantings are expected. Food assistance continues to be distributed through reconstruction projects (food for work) to hurricane "Mitch" affected population.

Wheat imports in marketing year 1999/2000 (November/October) are forecast to decrease from some 407 000 tonnes in the previous year to about 380 000 tonnes while maize imports (July/June) should remain close to the same 1998/99 level of 500 000 tonnes.

HAITI* (27 March)

Planting of the 2000/2001 rainfed maize and paddy crops has started under generally dry weather conditions, while sowing of the important irrigated paddy crop is underway. Average plantings are intended for maize and paddy respectively. Planting of the mountain-grown bean crop is also underway. Food assistance from the international community continues to be distributed through development projects to some sectors of the population. About 35 000 tonnes have been delivered so far against pledges of 97 000 tonnes.

Maize commercial imports in the 2000/2001 marketing year (July/June) are provisionally forecast to increase slightly from the 70 000 tonnes imported 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 (27 March)

Harvesting of the 1999/2000 third season "apante" crop has been recently completed and land is being prepared, under generally dry weather, for planting of the 2000/2001 first season cereal and bean crops to be started from April. Intended plantings of maize, the main cereal, are provisionally forecast to be close to the 1999/2000 below-average level of 370 000 has. This is mainly the result of unattractive prices to the producer. The outlook is also uncertain for the paddy crop although efforts are being conducted by the Government to assist producers increase plantings. By contrast, the planted area to beans is expected to be similar to the satisfactory level of the 1999/2000 season when the crops experienced a significant recovery from hurricane "Mitch" affected crop in late 1998. Food assistance from the international community continues to be distributed to the hurricane affected population.

JAMAICA (27 March)

A prolonged drought has affected foodcrops, mainly vegetables, in most of the country parishes and particularly in the southern parish of St. Elizabeth, where most of the vegetables are grown. Emergency measures are being implemented by the Government including water rationing to the population. Water supplies in the country main reservoirs are reported at far below capacity levels. The drought, by contrast, has benefited harvesting of the sugar cane crop although yields are considered below average due to the lack of rain.

MEXICO (27 March)

Harvesting of the 2000 irrigated wheat crop is about to start in the main producing northwestern states of Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California, as well as in Guanajato in the centre of the country. Prospects have slightly improved, following the adverse weather at planting, and preliminary forecasts point out to an about near-average of 3.3 million tonnes. Land is being prepared under dry weather conditions for planting of the important spring/summer maize crop in the large producing states of Jalisco, México, Michoacán, Chiapas and Puebla, where the bulk of the crop is grown. The area planted to maize is expected to decline from last year's slightly above-average level, but would nevertheless remain about average. Plantings would also largely depend upon the timely arrival and precipitation level of the rains. The dry spell has recently worsened in the north, where a state of emergency has been declared in some states.

Wheat imports in 2000/2001 marketing year (April/March) are expected to remain close to those in 1999/2000 at some 2.5 million tonnes in response to an anticipated growth in domestic demand. Maize imports (October/September) are also expected to increase slightly from the previous year's 5.2 million tonnes.

NICARAGUA (27 March)

Harvesting of the 1999/2000 third season or "apante" crop has been completed. Maize and bean outputs were less than expected as a consequence of poor soil moisture at planting. Land is being prepared for sowing of the 2000/2001 first season cereal and bean crops to be started with the arrival of the first rains in April. The area planted to maize, the main cereal, is expected to decline from last year's above-average level but would nevertheless remain about average. Above-average plantings are intended for the paddy crop while the area planted to the important beans crop should be average. Food assistance from the international community continues to be provided to hurricane "Mitch" affected population.


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