ARGENTINA (2 June)
Planting of the 2000 wheat crop has started in the main producing Buenos Aires province, following weeks of heavy rains and days of high winds. Early official forecasts indicate that plantings should increase slightly from 1999 average level.
Harvesting of the 1999/2000 maize crop, currently underway, has been frequently disrupted because of the adverse weather. By end-May, about 60 percent of plantings had been harvested compared to 69 percent by the same time the year before. Reduced yields and quality are anticipated. Production of maize is provisionally forecast at about 14.7 million tonnes which compares to the last 5-year average of 14 million tonnes; however, the final outturn will largely depend upon the weather pattern. Harvesting of this year's paddy crop continues and production is expected to decline significantly from last year's record. This is the result of anticipated reduced exports to neighbouring countries. A slightly below-average one million tonnes is forecast.
BOLIVIA (2 June)
Planting of the 2000 winter wheat crop is about to start in the largest producing Department of Santa Cruz, in the east. The outlook is poor as a result of the heavy rains and flooding that have affected the area. Reduced plantings with respect to the 1999 winter crop are provisionally forecast. Sowing of the 1999/2000 second season coarse grain and potato crops has only started and average plantings are provisionally forecast. Wheat imports in marketing year 2000/01 (July/June) are expected to increase from the 1999/2000 level to compensate the loss in production.
BRAZIL (2 June)
Planting of the 2000 wheat crop continues in the main producing states of Parana, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. Dry weather is reported, following weeks of intensive rains that lasted until early May. The area planted is expected to increase slightly from last year's average level due to higher domestic prices and government guaranteed credit, coupled with a higher cost for imported wheat due to currency devaluation. Harvesting should start from August and early production forecasts point to an average output. Harvesting of the 2000 first (main) season maize crop has been virtually completed, following various disruptions caused by the heavy rains, while planting of the second season crop in the large producing states of Parana and Sao Paulo was completed some weeks ago. A satisfactory output has been obtained from the first crop and aggregate maize production (both crops) is provisionally forecast at some 33.8 million tonnes which compares to 32.2 million tonnes in 1999 and an average of 32.6 million tonnes. Harvesting of the 2000 paddy crop has been recently completed and output is provisionally estimated at some 11 million tonnes, a decrease of about 600 000 tonnes from last year but some 10 percent above the five year average.
CHILE (2 June)
Planting of the 2000/01 wheat crop continues under generally dry weather. Area is expected to increase over last year. The 1999/2000 crop was affected by heavy rains during development and harvesting. Harvesting of the 2000 maize crop has been virtually completed and production is provisionally estimated at a near average 840 000 tonnes, an improvement over the previous year's crop of only 625 000 tonnes.
Wheat imports in marketing year 1999/2000 (December/November) are expected to increase to offset the loss in production. Imports for some 750 000 tonnes are forecast, compared to some 710 000 the year before. Maize imports in marketing year 2000/01 (February/January) should decline from the previous year's 1.1 million tonnes to some 850 000 tonnes due to the recovery in production.
COLOMBIA (2 June)
Heavy rains and flooding, with resulting land and mudslides, continue to afflict various areas of the country. A state of emergency has been officially declared in the provinces of Huila, Cauca, Nariño, Putumayo and Valle and a state of alert has been placed in various other provinces. A number of victims is reported and about 100 000 people have been affected by the extensive flooding. Damage to housing and infrastructure is also reported. No detailed assessment of damage to the agricultural sector is available yet.
Planting of the 2000 first season cereal crops is underway. Maize and paddy area is expected to be average despite disruptions caused by the heavy rains.
Wheat imports in marketing year 2 001 (January/December) should remain similar to this year's. Maize and rice imports should also be closely similar to this year's.
ECUADOR (2 June)
Heavy rains and flooding, resulting in deadly landslides, continue to be reported in various areas of the country, in particular in the capital and surrounding areas. A number of victims and serious damage to housing is reported. Harvesting of the yellow maize crop is underway while planting of the white maize crop has only started. Despite the heavy rains, an above-average output (white and yellow maize) for the whole year is anticipated. Prospects are poor however for the paddy crop, currently being harvested. Below-average plantings are reported largely as a result of unattractive prices coupled with financial constraints to the producer. The abnormal rain pattern also contributed to the reduced plantings.
Wheat imports in marketing year 2000/01 (July/June) should be closely similar to 1999./2000 imports of 490 000 tonnes. Maize imports are expected to decrease considerably from last year's 170 000 tonnes in anticipation of the recovery in production. Paddy imports are anticipated to increase from last year's 40 000 tonnes to some 50 000 tonnes.
PARAGUAY (2 June)
Relief assistance continues to be provided by the government and the international community to the drought affected population in the northern parts of the country. Particularly affected are the departments of Concepción, San Pedro and Chaco Central.
Normal rains are expected to resume shortly with the beginning of the rainy season in June.
PERU (2 June)
Wheat harvesting continues under generally dry weather. Early forecasts point out to a decline in production from 1999 but output would still remain above average. Harvesting of the yellow maize crop is underway and output collected in the first quarter of the year is slightly above last year's level. Output for the whole year is provisionally forecast at a much higher level. By contrast, production of paddy in the first quarter is below the quantity collected in 1999 for the same period, and output for the whole year 2000 is anticipated to be also smaller, but still above the average of the last 5 years.
Wheat imports in marketing year 2000/01 (January/December) are expected to be about 1.2 million tonnes, similar to 1999/2000. Maize imports are also anticipated to remain at the same level of this year's 950 000 tonnes.
URUGUAY (2 June)
Normal rains have resumed in various parts of the country following months of a severe drought which affected the main 1999/2000 cereal crops. Harvesting of maize, sorghum and paddy, were recently completed and output is provisionally estimated at extremely low levels. The important paddy crop has also declined from last year's well above-average level, but production is still slightly above average.
Planting of the 2000/01 wheat and barley crops has started with the arrival of the rains and average plantings are forecast, assuming normal weather patterns prevail.
VENEZUELA (2 June)
Planting of the 2000 first (main) season cereal crops, as well as other minor foodcrops, has started under normal weather conditions. Intended plantings for maize should be closely similar to last year's average, while those for sorghum are slightly below average mainly as a result of lower priced imports. Import regulations, however, virtually guarantee the acquisition of the whole sorghum crop by the animal feeding industry. The intended area to paddy is expected to be average. Food aid from the international community continues to be distributed to the population that was affected last December by the heavy rains, and resulting flooding and deadly mudslides, particularly in the northern departments of the country. Technical assistance for the immediate rehabilitation of the agricultural sector is also being provided by the international community.