FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 11/00 - YUGOSLAVIA, FED. REP. OF (SERBIA AND
YUGOSLAVIA, FED. REP. OF (SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO)* (8 November)
Official reports confirm the FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission's forecast for a drought reduced maize harvest this year. Final data has not yet been released but maize output is officially forecast to fall by 40 percent to about 3.6 million tonnes (1999: 6.1 million tonnes), somewhat higher than the mission's forecast of 3 million tonnes. The yield potential of other spring crops such as sugar beet and soya has also been severely compromised. The Mission estimated the 2000 wheat harvest at between 1.7 million tonnes (low scenario) to 1.8 million tonnes (best case) compared to 2 million tonnes in 1999. The agricultural sector in the country has been generally in decline since the early 1990s, but that the 1999/2000 cropping year was particularly difficult. Man-made and natural disasters, (sanctions, bomb damage, floods, water logging and prolonged drought), shortages of inputs, and low prices have combined to reduce the areas sown and average yields of both winter and spring crops.
Since October, the population has suffered serious shortages of energy and sharp price increases for basic foods which raised the rate of inflation to 27 percent in the month of October alone. The subsidized price of bread was raised by 66 percent in July. The prices of some basic foodstuffs, e.g. milk, bread, sugar, vegetable oil, is controlled and subsidized but the availability of supplies at controlled prices is limited. The country exports agri-food products to help cover its fuel and essential import bill but the export availability in 2000/01 is reduced. In fact, in response to a shortage of livestock feed, necessitating a sharp cut back in livestock numbers, there is pressure to ban all exports of maize.
WFP is currently targeting about 700 000 refugees and socially vulnerable people. In addition the ICRC assists 200 000 IDPs with an individual food ration and 100 000 beneficiaries (social cases) through a hot meal under their soup kitchen programme.