|Foodcrops and shortages
Global Information and Early Warning System on food and agriculture
AFRICA: The food situation remains precarious in eastern Africa, due to drought and war in parts. More than 20 million people need emergency food assistance. The food shortages are expected to persist well into 2001. Prolonged dry weather in eastern and southern parts of Rwanda has resulted in serious food shortages in a number of districts. Elsewhere, production in Sierra Leone, Liberia and DRC remains constrained by current and past civil strife. In Zimbabwe, sharp increases in the price of fuel and basic staples have diminished access to food for large sections of the population.
ASIA: In Asia, recent storms brought more misery to Bangladesh, whilst flood waters have yet to recede in Cambodia and Vietnam, seriously delaying main rice planting. Concerns also mount in India about another drought in parts affected last year, whilst drought has also reduced wheat and maize production significantly in China. Poor food supply prospects give cause for concern in DPR Korea, while in Mongolia severe malnutrition is reported. In Afghanistan, a grave food crisis has emerged due to prolonged drought and persistent conflict. Armenia, Georgia and Tajikistan also face severe food shortages.
CENTRAL (including the Caribbean) & SOUTH AMERICA:: Hurricane "Keith" brought torrential rains seriously damaging crops in Nicaragua, Honduras and Belize, which had earlier been affected by dry weather. The worst affected country was Belize where enormous damage is reported to the agricultural export sector. The food outlook remains poor in these countries and also in El Salvador. Damage is also reported to agriculture in Guatemala, but production is unlikely to suffer seriously. In Mexico, spring/summer harvesting is underway and average output is expected.
EUROPE: Prospects for the winter grain crops are uncertain due to adverse weather, with planting in parts of the EC disrupted by excessive rainfall. By contrast, in most eastern European countries dry weather persists and soils are too dry for good crop establishment. Cereal production in 2000 in the EC, CIS countries west of the Urals and the Baltics is forecast to increase compared to last year. In contrast, in the Balkans, spring production was sharply reduced due to hot/dry conditions.
NORTH AMERICA: Winter wheat planting is virtually complete in the United States and early indications suggest little change in area from last year but crop establishment may be poorer than normal because of exceptionally dry conditions in many parts. In the United States, 2000 wheat production fell by some 3.5 percent below 1999 and coarse grains output was well down on earlier expectations though up on last year. In Canada, rain and cool weather delayed the 2000 harvest and wheat and coarse grain output is below average and down somewhat from last year.
OCEANIA: In Australia prospects for the winter cereal crops have deteriorated following prolonged hot and dry weather in the last two months. FAO now forecasts wheat output in 2000 at 20 million tonnes, well down from 1999 and below average. Elsewhere, in Fiji the overall food situation remains satisfatory but serious nutritional problems persist in parts. In the Solomon Islands a recent peace agreement will improve access to vulnerable people.