|Foodcrops and Shortages
Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture
AFRICA:In eastern Africa, the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia has aggravated the drought-induced humanitarian crisis by displacing a large number of people. Over 16 million people, mainly pastoralists, in the sub-region are facing severe food shortages. In southern Africa, food aid is needed in areas affected by floods and cyclones. In northern Africa, crop outlook is unfavourable (except in Egypt) due to insufficient rainfall. In western Africa, renewed civil war in Sierra Leone hampers agricultural activities in the critical rice planting period.
ASIA:Several countries have been hit by severe drought, particularly the Islamic Republic of Iran, India and Pakistan. The food situation remains precarious in Mongolia, following excessive snowfall last winter which killed large numbers of livestock, and in DPR Korea, suggesting continued dependence on food aid. In East Timor the situation continues to ease. In the Near East, Afghanistan faces a severe food crisis due to drought and economic difficulties. Iraq and Jordan have also been affected by drought.
CENTRAL (including the Caribbean) & SOUTH AMERICA:In South America, cereal output was poor in Uruguay and Paraguay due to prolonged drought. In Bolivia, the winter wheat crop is likely to be low due to heavy rains and floods. In Venezuela, agriculture is recovering following devastating floods and mudslides last year. In Mexico, several northern states have been declared disaster areas due to drought. In the Caribbean, minor foodcrops, vegetables and roots and tubers were severely affected by drought in Jamaica. Emergency agricultural rehabilitation programmes are being prepared.
EUROPE:Prospects remain favourable for cereal production in the EC, but drought has affected crops in several eastern European and CIS countries. Large-scale international assistance continues for vulnerable populations in the Balkans. Crisis also continues in Chechnya, with large numbers of displaced people requiring assistance. Untimely frosts and persistent dry conditions have affected crops in Moldova and southern Ukraine. Persistent cold weather and rains have seriously delayed spring planting in the Russian Federation.
NORTH AMERICA:Coarse grains planting has been virtually completed in the United States and some recent significant rains have improved growing conditions after earlier dry weather. Early indications point to an above average output, 3.5 percent up on last year. In Canada, weather conditions have been generally favourable during the main spring planting season. Wheat area is expected to change little compared to last year but that for coarse grains could increase.
OCEANIA:In Australia, favourable weather conditions have benefited winter wheat and coarse grain crops. Wheat area is expected to be unchanged from the previous year, but for coarse grains a sharp increase is anticipated. The worst locust infestation in several decades is causing concern throughout most of the major producing areas and intensive control measures in the coming months will be necessary to avert potentially damaging plagues later in the year.