FAO/GIEWS - Food Outlook No.5 - November 2000 p. 5

Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page

Position by Region

· Asia

Harvesting of the 2000 wheat crop is complete in main producing countries and overall performance has been mixed, with aggregate production in the region put at 252 million tonnes, about average, but 3 percent down on 1999. The decline is largely attributed to a fall in production in China. The latest forecast of the region's coarse grain production is now put at 190 million tonnes, about 8 million tonnes less than expected in the September report and 28 million tonnes or 13 percent lower than the 1999 crop. This is again largely attributed to a significant decline in China. The region's paddy production in 2000 is currently forecast at 540.4 million tonnes, about 1 million tonnes down from the last report and 12.7 million tonnes below the revised figure for 1999. Since mid-September, severe floods have affected a number of important rice producing countries but their impact on the season output is estimated to be relatively small. In many cases, paddy fields had already been harvested. In others, the production shortfall will be compensated by increases in the successive crops.

Far East: In China, the latest official estimate of the 2000 wheat crop remains at 101 million tonnes. At this level, production would be some 10 percent lower than the average for the last five years and 13 million tonnes or 11 percent lower than 1999. Normal to above-normal rainfall in the latter part of October, boosted soil moisture for winter wheat planting and emergence across main growing areas in the north. In contrast to China, India and Pakistan both had record wheat harvests in 2000 of some 74 and 22 million tonnes respectively, up around 4 million tonnes each on the previous year. Coarse grain production in China in 2000 is now put at 115 million tonnes compared to 141 million tonnes last year. Due to adverse drought and to some extent falling area, maize production is expected to fall to its lowest level in 6 years to around 103 million tonnes, some 15 percent below average and 25 million tonnes lower than 1999.

In China (Mainland), harvesting of the single-rice crop is near completion in most parts and the late-double crop harvest has started in the south. The Government's latest estimate for this year's early rice crop is 37.7 million tonnes, which would be over 3 million tonnes less than last year. In addition, in light of the damage caused by drought and typhoons in southern China, its forecast of the late-rice crop, originally put at 45.4 million tonnes, has been lowered by some 800 000 tonnes to 44.6 million tonnes. China's overall 2000 paddy output is currently put at 188.5 million tonnes, down 10 million tonnes or 5 percent from 1999. In October, Viet Nam was hit by the worst floods in 40 years, which damaged about 100 000 hectares of paddy fields and wiped out earlier expectations for a moderate production increase. Paddy output for the season is now forecast to remain close to the 1999 revised level of 32.6 million tonnes, on the assumption of a good winter-spring crop. In Thailand, harvesting of the 2000 main crop is underway. Current assessment of the impact of the floods in August and early September on that crop suggests only a marginal decline from the 19 million tonnes achieved last year. In Myanmar, harvesting of the main-season crop is about to be completed and seeding of the secondary crop is scheduled to start in November. The country's paddy output is forecast at 20 million tonnes this year, 200 000 tonnes above the 19.8 million tonnes officially estimated output in 1999. The expansion is the result of increased plantings under government policy to reclaim wet and fallow lands for rice cultivation. Harvesting in Japan is about to be concluded. Faced with the prospect of a bumper crop and large inventories, the Government adopted in October a range of measures to reduce surpluses. The package includes a cut in plantings, starting in fiscal year 2001, an increase in the utilization of rice for feed and additional allocations of rice for food aid to foreign countries. In Cambodia, flood waters have receded but drought continues to cause damage in some rice producing areas. With the arrival of the dry season, expected soon, rice production in these areas might further deteriorate, so the outcome of the 2000 rice season remains highly uncertain. In Laos, production this year is officially forecast to rise by almost 10 percent to 2.2 million tonnes, despite the destruction of some 45 000 hectares of paddy because of floods in the central and southern parts of the country. The Democratic Republic of Korea has been suffering from severe weather-related disasters since early summer, which, according to Government's estimates have caused a loss of 1.4 million tonnes of grains, including 360 000 tonnes of rice. In Bangladesh, the harvest of the early Aus crop has been completed and planting of the Aman (monsoon) crop is to start soon. About 35 000 hectares of paddy and other crops were reportedly damaged by floods in several districts in the North West. Nonetheless, production for the 2000 season is forecast at 34 million tonnes, only slightly down from last year. However, this is still a tentative forecast since the bulk of the 2000 production depends on the performance of the Aman crop and, above all, of the irrigated Boro crop, which will be harvested in 2001. In India, paddy production has been hit by drought in a number of western and southern states early this year and by severe floods during the monsoon. As a result, the 2000 production has been revised downwards to 130 million tonnes from the anticipated 134 million tonnes, 2.7 million tonnes less than last season. In Pakistan, harvesting is progressing. Reports indicate that because of a reduction in plantings and a fall in yield, the 2000 paddy output could drop to 7 million tonnes, 200 000 tonnes less than earlier anticipated.

In Indonesia, planting of the 2001 main-season paddy crop has started while harvest of the 2000 second paddy crop is still in progress. Overall, paddy production is forecast to reach 52 million tonnes this season, 2 million tonnes more than previously forecast, as a long wet season and minor incidences of pests and diseases have contributed to boost yields. By contrast, in Sri Lanka, paddy output for the 2000 season is expected to fall to 2.6 million tonnes, down 300 000 tonnes from last year, due to unfavourable growing conditions for the main Maha crop.

Near East: In the Near East countries in Asia, two consecutive years of severe drought and inadequate availability of essential agricultural inputs continue to affect crop and livestock production in many parts. Wheat production was sharply reduced in Iraq, Afghanistan and Jordan. However, some recovery was observed in Turkey and Syria. In Saudi Arabia, wheat production in 2000 is estimated at 1.5 million tonnes, similar to last year. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, production is likely to be less than or similar to the 8.6 million tonnes produced in 1999.

CIS in Asia: In the eight CIS countries in Asia, rainfed crops have been affected by a mild winter with below normal snowfall and unusually hot and dry conditions this summer, particularly in the southern and western parts. However, irrigated (winter) wheat crops have fared somewhat better in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and rainfed crops in the major producing regions of northern Kazakhstan have benefited from adequate soil moisture levels but the harvest is below last year's bumper 14 million tonnes. The aggregate cereal output has fallen by 4 million tonnes to 20 million tonnes, including 16 million tonnes of wheat (1999:19 million tonnes).

In many countries, and particularly Armenia, Georgia and Tajikistan, the drought has exacerbated chronic economic problems, including structural shortages of improved seed, adequate working capital for other yield enhancing inputs, and the decay of the irrigation system. Consequently, the 2000 cereal harvests in these countries are sharply less and all three countries have requested the international donor community for assistance with the supply of wheat seed. In Tajikistan the 2000 cereal harvest has roughly halved to only 239 000 tonnes (1999: 448 000 tonnes), and food aid needs have risen sharply. In Georgia an FAO/WFP mission has estimated the 2000 cereal harvest at only 329 000 tonnes, including only 83 000 tonnes of wheat. This is only 42 percent of estimated output in 1999. In Armenia, an FAO/WFP mission in August assessed that hot dry weather as of June had reduced the 2000 cereal harvest by 27 percent to 216 000 tonnes. In all the affected countries, potato, vegetable and fodder crop output is also affected, putting further pressure on the available food supplies, and stressing livestock production.

In Azerbaijan the bulk of cereals are sown in the winter. Indications are that spring planted crops; maize as well as cotton, fruit, vegetable, etc suffered from hot dry weather and shortages of irrigation water but that the winter wheat crop was satisfactory. While spring crop losses are officially put at about 25 percent, the aggregate cereal harvest is officially reported to be higher than last year. Other crops, including fodder, have been more seriously affected. In Kyrgyzstan, contrary to earlier reports, indications are that the 2000 cereal crop could be off target and possibly somewhat less than last year's 1.6 million tonnes, reflecting crop damage in southern parts. In Uzbekistan, the 2000 grain (and cotton) harvests has been affected by inadequate irrigation water exacerbated by man-made problems including poor water management, unsuitable cropping patterns and poor irrigation efficiency. An FAO/WFP mission, which visited the country in October, found that winter cereals suffered less from the water shortages along the Amu Darya River in the summer than, for example cotton, but rainfed cereals were affected by below normal precipitation this year. Aggregate wheat production in 2000 is reported to be 3.4 million tonnes, with 3.1 million tonnes from the public sector and 300 000 tonnes from the household plots. However, rice and spring coarse grains have been affected, notably in the downstream areas, and in particular in Karakalpakstan, and the 2000 grain harvest is likely to remain below 4 million tonnes, at least 10 percent less than last year. By contrast, in Turkmenistan the 2000 cereal production exceeded the production target in response to the effect of land privatization on yields, despite a difficult year weather-wise. The 2000 wheat harvest is officially put at about 1.6 million tonnes of wheat (1999: 1.4 million tonnes) and that of coarse grains at nearly 80 million tonnes while rice production also rose. In Kazakhstan, the harvest is virtually over and the 2000 crop is forecast by FAO to be over 11 million tonnes.

· Africa

Northern Africa: The 2000 wheat crop in the subregion is estimated at about 9.6 million tonnes, some 15 percent less than last year's level and below the 5-year average. With the exception of Egypt where wheat is largely irrigated, continued dry conditions during the growing season resulted in sharply reduced output in all countries in the subregion. In Algeria and Morocco, production was much below average and some 37 percent below the 1999 level. In Tunisia, output is down 43 percent and below average. By contrast, the wheat crop in Egypt is estimated at about 6.7 million tonnes, some 5 percent over last year's above average harvest.

The subregion's 2000 coarse grains crop is estimated at 8.7 million tonnes, down 12 percent on the 1999 level. Reflecting the impact of unfavourable weather conditions, output decreased substantially in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, while it increased by about 3 percent in Egypt.

World Cereal Production - Forecast for 2000

    Wheat Coarse grains Rice (paddy) Total
1999 2000 1999 2000 1999 2000 1999 2000
  ( . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . million tonnes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . )
Asia 260.1 251.2 218.1 190.0 553.1 540.4 1 031.2 981.6
Africa 14.9 13.5 76.1 79.1 17.7 17.5 108.7 110.1
Central America 3.1 3.4 28.7 28.7 2.3 2.4 34.1 34.5
South America 19.7 18.6 58.6 61.7 21.1 20.1 99.5 100.4
North America 89.5 86.7 290.5 305.6 9.3 8.7 389.3 401.0
Europe 178.3 188.2 202.4 194.8 3.2 3.1 383.9 386.2
Oceania 24.3 20.3 8.9 9.9 1.4 1.1 34.6 31.2
WORLD 589.8 581.8 883.4 869.7 608.2 593.4 2 081.4 2 044.9
          (406) 1/ (397) 1/ (1 880) 2/ (1 848) 2/
Developing countries 276.6 268.4 369.3 345.2 582.1 568.1 1 228.0 1 181.8
Developed countries 313.2 313.3 514.1 524.4 26.1 25.3 853.4 863.1

In Egypt, harvesting of the 2000 rice crop is underway. Forecast for the 2000 paddy production has been lowered by 300 000 tonnes from the previous report, to 5.9 million tonnes, only slightly above last year. Prices to producers have also fallen in the country and concern over large carry-over stocks is growing, as supplies from the new crop start reaching the market.

Western Africa: Harvesting of coarse grains is now underway. In the Sahel, a series of joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Missions in October estimated 2000 cereal production. Below average harvests are foreseen in Burkina Faso and Chad. Above average to record crops are anticipated in Cape Verde, Senegal, The Gambia and Guinea Bissau while output remains average in Mali, Mauritania and Niger. The aggregate output of cereals is estimated at 9.5 million tonnes, which is 16 percent below the 1999 record level but only 2 percent lower than last five years average. In the coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea, growing conditions have been generally favourable and output of the main maize crop which is currently being harvested is expected to be normal to above-normal. Production should improve in Liberia except in the Lofa county where insecurity persists. By contrast, production will decrease in Sierra Leone following civil disturbances which resumed in May at the critical planting period. The country will continue to rely heavily on humanitarian assistance to meet its consumption needs.

Most countries in the subregion are harvesting or about to harvest their main paddy crops. Prospects are generally favourable, reflecting favourable climatic conditions and timely rainfall over the season. Production estimates are unchanged since the report, except for the Côte d'Ivoire, whose output in 2000 has been raised by 200 000 tonnes to 1.1 million, slightly above last year.

Central Africa: Harvesting of coarse grains is underway in Cameroon and Central African Republic and prospects are favourable. In the Republic of Congo, crop production should increase following improved security situation. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, all economic and agricultural activities continue to be disrupted by civil war.

Eastern Africa: Prospects for the 2000 wheat crop are uncertain in Ethiopia reflecting delayed rains in some major producing areas. However, extended and beneficial rains through October helped some recovery. In Kenya, where the harvest is underway, output is expected to be well below average due to continued drought. In Sudan, an output of about 214 000 tonnes, 54 percent below the average for the last five years, was harvested earlier in the year due to lower planted area.

Preliminary forecasts point to below average coarse grains output in the subregion in 2000 mainly because of drought and civil conflict. In Eritrea, prospects for the 2000 crops are extremely poor due to mass displacement that followed the border war with neighbouring Ethiopia. Farmers were displaced from the agriculturally important regions of Gash Barka and Debub, accounting for more than 70 percent of the country's cereal production. Continued drought, in parts, has also affected crop production. In Ethiopia, the secondary "Belg" season crops have failed due to drought and the outlook for the main season "Meher", for harvest from December, is uncertain following the late start of rains, which delayed land preparation and planting of the long-cycle crops. In Kenya, official estimates put the 2000 long-rains maize crop at 1.4 million tonnes, 36 percent lower than the long-rains average of 2.2 million tonnes. In Somalia, a good "Gu" season crop is in prospect due to widespread rains in the growing season and improved security conditions that encouraged farming. Preliminary estimates put the Gu 2000 cereal production at 212 000 tonnes, about 65 percent up from 1999 and 21 percent above the post-war average. In the Sudan, delayed and erratic rains stressed developing coarse grains in major producing areas. In Tanzania, following drought during both the "short-rains" and "long-rains" seasons, the 2000 aggregate coarse grains output is estimated to be about 17 percent lower than last year at 2.7 million tonnes. In Uganda, the recently harvested main 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. The outlook for the secondary season crops for harvest from December has improved mainly due to well-distributed rainfall from September.

The 2000 paddy production in Eastern Africa is forecast to rise by 3 percent from last season to 920 000 tonnes, reflecting an increase in average yields. The outlook for production in Tanzania, the main producing country in the subregion, remains unchanged at 700 000 tonnes, similar to last year. However, a recent assessment of cereal production suggests an outturn well below normal, which may imply a smaller 2000 paddy output than currently anticipated.

Southern Africa: The subregion's aggregate coarse grains output is estimated at 19.1 million tonnes, about one-quarter above 1999's average crop. This year's bumper crop mostly reflects abundant rains during the growing season which were generally favourable for crop development, in spite of severe floods and crop losses in parts. Outputs increased substantially in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana. In Malawi, production of coarse grains remained at the same record level of last year. However, lower harvests were obtained in Mozambique, affected by serious crop losses to floods in southern parts, in Madagascar, affected by drought in the south and cyclones in the north and in Angola, affected by civil strife. In Swaziland and Lesotho, early dry weather followed by excessive rains resulted in reduced crops.

Harvesting of the 2000 wheat crop has started in the subregion. Latest forecast indicates a below average output close to 2.1 million tonnes. Output in South Africa, which accounts for over 80 percent of the aggregate production, is expected to be higher than the reduced level of last year reflecting abundant irrigation water supplies but still below the average of the past five years. In Zimbabwe, production is anticipated to decline following a sharp decrease in the area planted in response to civil disturbances in agricultural areas and the Government's current land distribution programme.

The 2000 rice season in the subregion has been one of the poorest in the decade, as the two major producers, Madagascar and Mozambique, were severely stricken by drought, tropical storms and cyclones in the first half of the year. Planting of the 2001 main paddy crop is scheduled to start in October in Madagascar, in the Haut Plateau, and in November in Mozambique. However, it is not yet well known to which extent the damage made to agricultural infrastructure will jeopardize the next paddy season in the two countries.

· Central America and the Caribbean

Planting of the 2000/2001 irrigated wheat crop has just started in the main producing areas of the northwest of Mexico, virtually the sole wheat producer in the subregion. It is reported that water reservoir levels are adequate following beneficial tail-end rains from tropical storms in the last few weeks. Preliminary forecasts indicate that the area planted should increase from the previous year's level, which was slightly below average due to prolonged dry weather at planting.

Harvesting of the 2000/2001 first season coarse grain and bean crops has been virtually completed while planting of the second season crop has just started in some parts, following earlier disruptions caused by tropical storms and principally by Hurricane "Keith". Damage to cereals, and other food crops, as well as to housing and infrastructure is reported in various countries. In Belize, the most affected country, thousands of people have been displaced from their homes as a consequence of flooding and the food security situation of some farming groups is being threatened. In El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, important localized losses of maize, the main cereal crop, are also reported. Aggregate coarse grain production in these countries is expected to decline to below-average levels. Cereal crops in Guatemala, mainly in the south, have also been affected, but overall production is anticipated to remain at average levels. In Mexico, the developing maize crops in the large producing central and southern belts were not affected by the recent storm rains and slightly above-average outputs are forecast. The remains of the various storm rains have benefited the sorghum crops in the northeastern areas and average outputs are expected. In the Caribbean, below-average cereal and bean outputs, as well as other minor foodcrops, are anticipated in Haiti, as a result of a prolonged period of extremely dry weather at planting, while in the Dominican Republic and Cuba, average cereal outputs are forecast.

· South America

Planting of the 2000/2001 wheat crop has been completed in the southern part of the subregion. In Argentina, the main producing country, harvesting is about to start. Recent light to moderate rains in some of the largest producing areas have benefited the developing crops and early forecasts point to above-average outputs. In Brazil, where harvesting is underway, the outlook is poor as a result of the extremely bad weather, which affected the crops at planting, and throughout their development. Recent heavy rains have worsened the situation and a considerably below-average wheat outturn is expected. Below-average outputs are also anticipated in Chile and Uruguay as a consequence of adverse weather at planting. In the Andean countries, in Bolivia, harvesting of the 1900/2000 second season (winter) wheat crop has been virtually completed and a low output has been collected due to the heavy rains and flooding at planting. In Peru, the bulk of the wheat harvest has been completed and output is estimated to be above-average, while in Colombia an average output is provisionally estimated.

Harvesting of the 2000/2001 coarse grain crops, mainly maize, is underway in the southern countries. In Argentina, planting has been delayed due to heavy rains in some of the main producing areas. By mid-October, some 25 percent of intended plantings had been sown which compares to 33 percent by the same time a year earlier. In Brazil, the recent moderate to heavy rains have benefited planting of the 2000/2001 first season (main) maize crop, particularly in the large producing areas of the south, and an improvement in production is forecast with respect to the previous year's first season weather-affected crops. In Chile, planting of the maize crop continues, and a recovery from last year's also seriously weather-affected crop is expected. In the Andean countries, in Bolivia, fieldwork in the highlands, in preparation of planting of the 2000/2001 first season coarse grain and potato crops, has initiated, while in the valleys some early planting is reported. In Ecuador, harvesting of the 1999/2000 second season maize crop, mostly white, is underway. Aggregate maize production (white and yellow) is provisionally forecast to be slightly above average. In Peru, harvesting of the 2000 white maize crop is virtually complete while that of yellow maize is well advanced. A bumper crop is provisionally estimated. In Colombia, harvesting of the 2000/2001 first season maize crop has been completed while planting of the second season crop is underway. Prospects are good and an average aggregate output (both seasons) is forecast. In Venezuela, harvesting of the maize and sorghum crops is about to be completed and below-average outputs have been collected.

The 2000 rice season has been concluded in most of the subregion, with overall paddy output estimated to have fallen to 20.1 million tonnes, about one million tonnes less than last year. Planting of the 2001 paddy crop has started in a number of countries. In Argentina, rice cultivation may decline again this year, as many farmers are reported to face difficulties to pay their debts back in light of the very low prices received during the 2000 season.

· North America

In the United States, the October USDA crop report put the 2000 aggregate wheat (winter and spring) output about 61 million tonnes, 2.6 percent down from 1999 and 5 percent below the average of the past five years. As of 22 October, planting of the winter wheat crop for harvest in 2001 was reported to be lagging some 10 percent behind the previous year's pace and the five-year average. The delay is mostly a result of adverse dry soil conditions in the central and southern regions, which account for the bulk of the county's hard winter wheat production. More moisture is needed soon to facilitate the remainder of the planting and for germination. If plants are not strongly established before the onset of dormancy then the crop could be more susceptible to winter kill. In Canada, by mid-October, the wheat harvest was reported to be virtually complete. The duration of the harvest has been somewhat longer than normal this year due to wet weather across the major growing areas during most of September. Aggregate wheat production in 2000 is now officially forecast at nearly 26 million tonnes, 4 percent lower than last year and just below the five-year average.

The outlook for the United States 2000 coarse grain crop has deteriorated somewhat since the last report in September due largely to drought-related losses in some central and southern regions. The USDA's October forecast put aggregate coarse grain production at 280 million tonnes, about 8 million tonnes below the forecast in September but still almost 17 million tonnes, or 6.3 percent, above last year's output. Of the total, maize is expected to account for about 259 million tonnes, compared to 240 million tonnes in 1999. By 22 October it was reported that, 78 percent of the maize crop had been harvested, ahead of last year's harvesting pace and the five-year average. In Canada, the latest forecast of aggregate coarse grain production in 2000 has been revised downward since the last report to some 25 million tonnes, almost 6 percent down from last year and 5 percent below the five-year average.

In the United States, rice harvesting is still proceeding in California but is almost over in the southern states. Since the last report, the forecast of output in 2000 has been adjusted downward to 8.7 million tonnes, 7 percent less than the revised 1999 output. Latest information indicates that the area under rice has declined by 12 percent from 1.4 million hectares in 1999.

· Europe

FAO's latest forecast puts aggregate 2000 cereal production in the EC at almost 216 million tonnes, 6 percent up from last year and 6 percent above the average of the past five years. The increase results from the combined effect of an overall larger cereal area and higher average yields for this year's crop. Wheat output is now estimated at about 105 million tonnes, slightly down from that reported in September but still some 7 percent up on last year. The forecast for aggregate coarse grain production has been adjusted upward slightly since the last report to some 108 million tonnes, which would be about 5 percent above the 1999 output. Output of barley is seen to increase 6 percent to almost 52 million tonnes and that of oats by 12 percent to 6.7 million tonnes. The maize crop is forecast to reach almost 38.5 million tonnes, 3 percent up from 1999.

Prospects for the winter grain crops already in the ground or now being planted throughout the Community are uncertain. Planting operations have generally been hampered in late September and October by widespread rainfall. In particular, Italy's major cereal producing region in the north of the country has been severely hit by torrential rains and flooding, which will jeopardize this year's autumn planting. The exception to the overall wet pattern throughout the Community is the Iberian Peninsula, where more rainfall is needed to favour planting of the winter wheat and barley crops.

The paddy crop harvest has been completed in Spain, where production is estimated to have fallen by 10 percent compared to last year. In Italy, flood problems affected the northern producing regions in mid-October, when about 15 percent of the crop were still to be harvested. Earlier forecasts for this country had already pointed to a poor quality crop, following an abnormally cool July. Overall output for the EC is currently forecast to decline by 105 000 tonnes from 2.6 million tonnes in 1999. However, this does not yet take into consideration the recent losses incurred in Italy.

Elsewhere in Europe, by contrast to the situation in the EC, persisting dry conditions are hampering autumn grain planting. Soil moisture levels are reported to be well down on last year throughout most eastern European countries, and in many cases just at the bare minimum for cereal germination. Significant rainfall is needed in late October and early November otherwise final areas planted could be less than intended and crop stands are likely to be in poor condition at dormancy making them more susceptible to winter perils.

In Bulgaria, this year's wheat and barley crops are estimated close to last year's levels at 3.1 million tonnes and about 700 000 tonnes respectively. However, the summer maize crop was devastated by drought and latest reports put maize output at about 800 000 tonnes, compared to an average level of about 1.5 million tonnes in the past five years. Some rainfall in southeastern parts of the country in early October was welcome for autumn grain planting after previously dry conditions. Early indications suggest that Bulgarian farmers may try to plant more winter wheat this year but the final outcome will depend on weather conditions in late October and early November. In the Czech Republic, cereal output this year is estimated to be down by about 7 percent on 1999 at about 6.5 million tonnes. The bulk of the country's cereal crop is accounted for by wheat and barley, which were relatively less affected by drought conditions earlier in the year than other crops.

In Hungary, the 2000 cereal output is now estimated at about 10 million tonnes, compared to over 11 million tonnes last year and an average of about 12 million tonnes over the past five years. A sharp recovery in wheat production, by about 40 percent, to 3.7 million tonnes, was more than offset by smaller barley and maize crops. In Poland, cereal output has fallen sharply in 2000 to about 22 million tonnes, the lowest level since 1994, and about 15 percent below the average of the past five years. Outputs of wheat and all the main small coarse grain crops were affected by a combination of spring drought and damaging heavy rains during the main harvesting period. However, the maize crop benefited from the heavy summer rains and is estimated to have reached a bumper level of 900 000 tonnes, more than double the average of the past five years.

In Romania, latest official estimates put the 2000 wheat output at about 4.3 million tonnes, 9 percent down from 1999 and about 20 percent below the average of the past five years. Moreover, the quality of the crop is reported to be considerably poorer than normal reflecting the severe drought throughout the spring and summer. The maize crop has been hit harder by the drought, and much harder than earlier expected after dry conditions continued practically throughout the whole of the growing period. It is reported that in many areas crops have been completely wiped out and as of mid-October, it was expected that, at best, the crop may reach about 4 million tonnes, compared to the five-year average of over 10 million tonnes. This estimate may have to be revised down in the coming weeks pending the completion of the harvest. As of late October, it was reported that winter wheat planting for next year's crop had been completed on about 1.3 million hectares of the 1.8 million hectares expected total.

In the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, (Serbia and Montenegro), flooding and water logging followed by persistent hot and dry not only maize yields but also those of sugar beet, soya and fodder crops. Unremunerative producer prices for wheat at the time of planting, and critical shortages of fuel and fertilizer for winter crops reduced plantings and yields. An FAO mission, which visited the country in July, estimated the 2000 grain harvest at around 5 million tonnes compared to 8.6 million tonnes in 1999. The wheat harvest was estimated at between 1.7-1.8 million tonnes. Maize yields are officially reported to be 40 percent less than last year.

In the Baltics, the 2000 cereal output could recover to about 3.7 million tonnes (1999: 3.3) million tonnes, with wheat output remaining stable at around 1.3 million tonnes and coarse grain production recovering by almost one fifth to 2.3 million tonnes.

In the CIS countries west of the Ural Mountains (Belarus, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine), the aggregate 2000 cereal output is somewhat higher than last year's low level, mainly due to better harvests in Belarus and the Russian Federation. By contrast, harvests in Moldova and the Ukraine are estimated to be less than last year's low levels mainly because of drought. Current estimates put the aggregate cereal harvest in 2000 in Belarus, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine at nearly 99 million tonnes, compared to 91 million tonnes last year. Aggregate wheat production has risen to 53 million tonnes, with better harvests in the Russian Federation offsetting a poor harvest in Ukraine. Aggregate output of coarse grains this year, at 45 million tonnes; is estimated to be 5 million tonnes higher than last year. Output of paddy rice has remained stable at about 500 000 tonnes.

In the Russian Federation, aggregate cereal output is tentatively forecast by FAO to increase by nearly 20 percent to nearly 70 million tonnes, and to include 40 million tonnes (1999: 34 million tonnes) of wheat and 30 million tonnes (1999: 25 million tonnes) of course grains. In line with the higher yields being gathered this year, FAO's production estimate is higher than the official forecasts which indicate a harvest of 65 million tonnes. In Belarus, indications are that 2000 output of cereals recovered at least to 4.3 million tonnes from the poor 3.4 million tonnes in 1999, in response to better weather. By contrast, in Ukraine, aggregate cereal output is forecast by FAO to have fallen by 3 million tonnes to 23 million tonnes; wheat production is down while that of coarse grains remained stable. In Moldova, dry conditions during the autumn kept the winter wheat harvest close to last year's poor level, while dry weather also during most of the spring and summer caused spring crop yields to be sharply reduced compared to the previous year. The aggregate cereal harvest is forecast not to exceed 1.8 million tonnes compared to 2.1 million tonnes in 1999.

Planting of winter cereals, (mainly wheat and rye) for harvest next year is well underway. In the Russian Federation the winter crop planting target is 14.6 million hectares (1999/2000 14.2 million hectares) including 11.9 million hectares to cereals. In Ukraine, official plans call for the area sown to winter crops to increase to 8.4 million hectares and to include 7.1 million hectares of wheat, as well as 0.8 and 0.5 million hectares of rye and barley respectively. By 30 September some 6.3 million hectares had been sown to winter crops including 5.2 million hectares to what. Conditions at sowing and the availability of inputs were better than last year, but the latter remain far from optimal.

· Oceania

In Australia, prospects for this year's wheat and small coarse grains crops have deteriorated following persisting hot and dry weather in the last two months. The harvest is already underway in some parts and early reports indicate that, as a result of the drought, grain size and quality is below earlier expectations and below normal. The most recent official forecast dates from early September when ABARE forecast 2000 wheat output at 22.2 million tonnes. However, since that forecast was issued, crops in the north and west have been hit by hot and dry weather, which has adversely affected yields. FAO now forecast wheat output in 2000 at 20 million tonnes, which would be 17 percent down from 1999 and below the average of the past five years. However, despite the drought, production of barley, the main coarse grain crop, could still increase somewhat from last year following a sharp expansion in the area planted.

Preparation for the 2001 paddy season have started. According to ABARE, paddy output next season could reach 1.4 million tonnes, substantially above the 1.1 million tonnes harvested this season. This increase would rely on a 19 percent expansion in plantings, to 159 000 hectares, and on a 7 percent increase in yields, to 8.8 tonnes per hectare. The outcome, however, will depend on the availability of irrigation water in New South Wales, where production is concentrated.

Previous PageTop Of PageTable Of ContentsNext Page