FAO/GIEWS - Food Outlook No.1 - February 2001 p. 5

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Current Production and Crop Prospects

Position by Region

· Asia

The latest estimate of the aggregate 2000 cereal output in Asia is 987.8 million tonnes, 4.5 percent down from the previous year's crop. The region's output of wheat is now estimated at 253.7 million tonnes, 2.5 percent down from 1999, while that of coarse grains is estimated to have fallen by about 12 percent to 193.1 million tonnes. Most of the decline, in both cases, is attributed to China due to adverse growing conditions and area reductions. The region's paddy production in 2000 has been revised upward slightly since the last report to 541 million tonnes. At this level, aggregate output would be about 15 million tonnes down from 1999.

Far East: In China, the winter wheat crop is still dormant. The area planted is reported to have declined for the second year in succession and is estimated at some 6-7 percent lower than last year. This is attributed to more attractive prices for alternative crops and rising input costs, particularly for irrigation water. In India, production is also set to fall due to drought and higher than normal temperatures, with reports indicating a likely appreciable decline compared to last year's record crop of 75.5 million tonnes. The drought particularly affected rain-fed states like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan, where a poor monsoon last year resulted in low soil moisture levels. Early prospects for the wheat crop in Pakistan improved with rains in December, following a prolonged dry spell earlier. Current indications, however, suggest that aggregate output may be lower than last year's bumper harvest.

Very early indications point to a slight reduction in the coarse grain (mostly maize) area in China in 2001. In India, the bulk of the coarse grains are produced under rain fed conditions during the main monsoon (kharif) season from June to September. Latest estimates indicate that production of 2000 Kharif maize, millet and sorghum was about 23 million tonnes, marginally above 1999.

In China (Mainland), the 2000 paddy season has been concluded with the harvesting of the late double crop in November. Overall, the estimate of paddy production in 2000 remains unchanged at 188.5 million tonnes, 10 million tonnes less than in the previous season. About 3 million tonnes of the decline was in the early rice crop, which generally gives a poor quality rice, reflecting reduced plantings following the removal government support for this rice variety. Unfavourable growing conditions combined with low producer prices also depressed output of the single and of the late rice crops, causing another 7 million tonnes contraction in output. Preliminary forecast for 2001 points to another decline in China's paddy production, though likely to be much less pronounced, at about 500 000 tonnes. In Viet Nam, harvesting of the 10th Month paddy crop is about to be concluded. Planting of the winter-spring rice, the country's main crop destined for exports, has started in spite of the slowly receding flood, shortage of seeds, and the high cost of inputs. Despite successive natural disasters and assuming good growing conditions for the winter-spring rice crop, the country's 2000 paddy production is expected to reach 32.7 million tonnes, up 100 000 tonnes from the previous forecast and close to the revised production in 1999.

In Thailand, harvesting of the main rice crop is underway. The recent floods caused by heavy rains and typhoons have had an overall favourable impact on rice production. Consequently, the 2000 rice output has been revised upward to 24 million tonnes, 700 000 tonnes more than the earlier forecast, but still 200 000 tonnes less than the revised estimate for 1999. Gathering of the main season rice crop is near completion in Myanmar. The estimate for the aggregate 2000 output remains unchanged from the last report at 20 million tonnes, up 200 000 tonnes from the previous season, although producers prices have reportedly fallen in the course of the year to record low levels. In the Philippines, harvesting of the main season rice crop is well advanced. The forecast for the 2000 rice season is unchanged at 12.2 million tonnes, some 200 000 tonnes above the revised forecast for 1999. Harvesting in Japan is mostly concluded and the estimate of rice output this season remains at 11.8 million tonnes, some 400 000 tonnes above the previous year's production, as favourable growing conditions boosted yields. In Cambodia, the main wet season rice crop about to be completed has been severely affected by the floods that have stricken the country in September last year. The loss incurred is estimated at 400 000 tonnes, part of which is expected to be recovered during the dry season crop, which will be harvested in March/April. As a result, paddy production in 2000 has been lowered from the last report by 200 000 tonnes to 3.8 million tonnes, down from 4.0 million tonnes in 1999. In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the 2000 paddy production estimate has been reduced by some 300 000 tonnes to 1.6 million tonnes, as the lack of rainfall during the planting period and input shortages are believed to have caused greater damage than first anticipated. At this level, production would be some 700 000 tonnes less than in 1999.

In Bangladesh, gathering of the main season Aman crop is near completion while the country's third Boro rice crop is being planted. Although floods reportedly damaged some rice fields, output for the 2000 rice season has been adjusted upward by 1 million tonnes from the last report, to 35 million tonnes. The change reflects higher estimates for area and yields and assumes good growing conditions for the Boro crop, which will be harvested in spring. In India, the 2000 rice production, which was affected by severe flooding and by drought in some western states, is assessed at about 130 million tonnes, unchanged from the last report but more than 4 million tonnes less than in 1999. Notwithstanding the decline, the country is currently gripped by serious oversupply problems and shortage of storage space. In order to reduce its bulging rice stocks, the Government is reported to have authorized sales of rice at subsidized prices for export by state trading agencies. In Pakistan, the 2000 rice output has been revised downward by about 200 000 tonnes to 6.9 million tonnes. At this level, the 2000 season would end with a contraction of over 800 000 tonnes compared with 1999, a reflection of low producer prices and shortages of irrigation water in the lower Sindh region, in August last year.

In Indonesia, the 2000 rice season output is forecast at 51 million tonnes, 1 million tonnes less than previously reported but slightly above the outturn in 1999. Planting of the 2001 main paddy season is well advanced and production is targeted to increase to 52 million tonnes. As part of a general change in the country's rice policy, an increase from Rp. 1 400 per kilogram (about US$149 per tonne) to Rp. 1 500 per kilogram (US$160 per tonne) in the minimum procurement prices for unmilled rice is anticipated to take effect, once approved, in early 2001. In Sri Lanka, the estimate of the 2000 paddy output has been raised to 2.8 million tonnes, 200 000 tonnes more than anticipated earlier, but down 100 000 tonnes from the previous year.

Near East: In Afghanistan, persistent drought and civil conflict reduced the 2000 rice production to 156 000 tonnes, 124 000 tonnes less than in 1999.

CIS in Asia: In the eight CIS countries in Asia, winter grains for harvest in 2001 have been planted. The outlook is uncertain. Following the drought reduced crops of 2000, seed shortages have limited the areas that could be sown with winter wheat in several countries, notably Armenia, Georgia and Tajikistan. In Uzbekistan the area sown is set to decline as about 100 000 hectares of marginal rainfed land have been taken out of wheat production. In Armenia, indications are that the area sown to winter wheat has fallen to about two-thirds of normal. By contrast, in Azerbaijan, where winter wheat largely escaped the effects of the summer drought, the area sown to wheat is expected to increase further. In many drought affected countries, soil moisture deficits after last year's mild winter and hot dry spring and summer have not yet been fully replaced. In Kazakhstan, the bulk of cereals are sown in the spring.

The aggregate 2000 cereal harvest in these eight countries fell to 21 million tonnes from 24 million tonnes in 1999. The bulk of the decline was in wheat production, which is estimated at 16.8 million tonnes compared to 19 million tonnes in1999. Severe drought reduced production in many smaller countries with the exception of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, and average yields in Kazakhstan were also less than last year's post independence bumper levels. In Kazakhstan, the 2000 grain harvest is officially forecast at 11.6 million tonnes (1999: 14.3 million tonnes), including 9.1 million tonnes (1999:11.2 million tonnes) of wheat. Aggregate coarse grain output in the region was also down to 3.8 million tonnes in 2000 compared to 4.6 million tonnes in 1999, mainly due to inadequate moisture (irrigation and rainfall) for spring crops. The paddy harvest was also affected, notably in Uzbekistan where the irrigated crop in the northern areas was affected by lack of irrigation water supplies. By contrast, total cereal - and wheat production in particular - increased sharply in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, reflecting the incentive effects of land privatization and a sharp increase in the areas sown.

World Cereal Production - Provisional Estimate for 2000

    Wheat  Coarse grains Rice (paddy)  Total
1999 2000 1999 2000 1999 2000 1999 2000
  ( . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . million tonnes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . )
Asia 260.1 253.7 218.1 193.1 555.9 541.0 1 034.1 987.8
Africa 15.0 13.8 77.7 77.0 17.6 17.5 110.3 108.3
Central America 3.1 3.4 28.7 28.7 2.3 2.4 34.1 34.5
South America 20.1 19.3 58.9 62.5 21.1 20.0 100.1 101.7
North America 89.5 87.3 290.6 299.2 9.3 8.7 389.4 395.2
Europe 177.6 188.6 203.0 198.4 3.3 3.0 383.9 390.0
Oceania 25.3 19.8 9.3 10.2 1.4 1.1 36.0 31.1
WORLD 590.6 585.8 886.3 869.0 610.9 593.7 2 087.9 2 048.5
  (408)1/ (397)1/ (1 885)2/ (1 852)2/
Developing countries 276.9 270.7 370.6 346.2 584.8 568.5 1 232.3 1 185.3
Developed countries 313.7 315.2 515.7 522.8 26.1 25.2 855.6 863.1

· Africa

Northern Africa: The subregion's aggregate production of wheat in 2000 is estimated at about 9.7 million tonnes, some 14 percent below the previous year and 20 percent below the 5-year average. Production increased slightly only in Egypt where wheat is largely irrigated. Elsewhere, dry conditions during the growing season resulted in sharply reduced output. In both Algeria and Morocco, production was less than half of the 5-year average and some 37 percent below the previous year's level. Production in Tunisia was down 40 percent and below average. The 2000 coarse grains crop in the subregion is estimated at 8.7 million tonnes, down 12 percent on the 1999 level, as a result of unfavourable weather conditions. Output decreased substantially in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, while a marginal increase (one percent) was noted in Egypt.

In Egypt, the 2000 rice crop is estimated at about 6 million tonnes, which is somewhat above the good 1999 crop and above average.

Growing conditions for the 2001 winter wheat and coarse grain crops are so far generally favourable in the subregion. Conditions between October and December were generally good for land preparation and planting of crops in Morocco while farming activities in Tunisia and Algeria were somewhat delayed by below-normal rainfall. Overall, timely rains over growing areas in the subregion will be crucial during the next few months to ensure a recovery of major food crops production in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. In Egypt, area planted to both wheat and barley is expected to increase, suggesting a higher production of the irrigated wheat and barley in 2001.

Western Africa: In the Sahel, the 2000 aggregate cereal production of the nine CILSS member countries has been estimated by a series of joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Missions at 9.5 million tonnes, which is 15 percent lower than in 1999 and 2 percent below the average of the last five years. Below average outputs are anticipated in Burkina Faso and Chad. Near average production is expected in Mali, Mauritania and Niger, and above average outputs are foreseen in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal. A record level has been reached in The Gambia. Compared to 1999, output has significantly increased in The Gambia and Guinea Bissau, but it is significantly lower than the record levels reached in Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Mali, Niger and Chad, and to a lesser extent Mauritania. In the coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea, following generally favourable growing conditions during the 2000 crop season, prospects for the 2000 cereal output are favourable. Cereal production is likely to be above normal, except in Liberia and Sierra Leone where past or present civil strife hampered agricultural activities. Preliminary FAO estimates for the aggregate cereal production in the nine coastal countries point to a total of about 29.2 million tonnes. However, these estimates are very tentative, since crop production forecasts by local administrations are not available to date for most countries.

Harvesting of the 2000 rice crop is complete in most of the subregion. Overall, growing conditions have been favourable and rice production estimates are generally satisfactory. In Nigeria, the largest rice producer in the subregion, paddy production is anticipated to increase slightly above the 1999 level of 3.4 million tonnes. In Mali, the estimate of the 2000 rice production has been reduced to 745 000 tonnes, following a downward revision in the area and yield. Nonetheless, it remains 18 000 tonnes higher than in the 1999 season. In Cote d'Ivoire, the 2000 rice production forecast remains unchanged from the last report, at 1.1 million tonnes, somewhat higher than the previous year. The estimate of output in Benin has been raised substantially to 45 000 tonnes, following an upward revision in plantings. As a result, the country would end the season with an 20 percent increase compared with 1999. By contrast, rice production in 2000 is expected to drop in Sierra Leone, where persistent civil conflict has seriously disrupted agricultural activities.

Central Africa: Millet and sorghum have been harvested in Cameroon and Central African Republic and prospects are generally favourable. Agriculture is recovering in the Republic of Congo following civil disturbances in 1998 and 1999. Civil strife in the Democratic Republic of Congo has severely hampered agricultural and marketing activities. In Rwanda and Burundi, abundant rains in the past months, which followed prolonged dry weather, improved prospects for the 2001 first season cereal and pulses being harvested.

Eastern Africa: Harvesting of the 2000 wheat crop is complete in Kenya and Ethiopia, while in Sudan the 2001 crop is scheduled to be harvested from March. In Ethiopia, despite a late start to the season, production is anticipated to be considerably higher than last year's crop of 1.2 million tonnes, reflecting the benefit of prolonged rains. In Kenya production is anticipated to decline by nearly 4 percent on last year's already poor crop, to 130 000 tonnes, due to continued drought. In Sudan, the 2001 wheat crop is forecast at 334 000 tonnes, about 56 percent above the 2000 poor harvest due to favourable planting conditions.

Harvesting of the 2000 main season coarse grains is completed in the subregion. Secondary season crops are now being harvested, except in Ethiopia, where planting is expected to start shortly. In Eritrea, the coarse grains harvest is expected to decline by nearly 70 percent from last year's crop of 287 000 tonnes due to the displacement of large number of farmers by the war with neighbouring Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, following improved rains, the main season coarse grain crop, accounting for some 90 percent of the annual production, is anticipated to improve considerably on the 1999 average crop. In Kenya, output of the 2000 maize crop, affected by prolonged drought, is estimated at 1.7 million tonnes, nearly 24 percent below the 1999 harvest and 27 percent less than the average for the past five years. The outlook for the secondary crop, harvested in late 2000 and early 2001, is also unfavourable due to drought conditions. In Somalia, production of coarse grains in 2000, estimated at 310 000 tonnes, is about 28 percent above 1999 and 19 percent above the average for the previous five years due to favourable weather conditions. In Sudan, the coarse grain crop, estimated at 3.3 million tonnes, is about 10 percent above the 1999 poor crop but nearly 16 percent below the five-year average due to late and erratic rains. In Uganda, the main coarse grains harvest was a below average 1.5 million tonnes, but the outlook for the secondary season crop, being harvested, is favourable reflecting good rains. In Tanzania, the coarse grains harvest, estimated at 2.8 million tonnes, is about 16 percent below the previous year's below average crop. Prospects for secondary season crops, harvested in late 2000 and early 2001, is uncertain despite recent beneficial rains.

The estimate of the 2000 paddy production in the subregion has been lowered by 91 000 tonnes to 828 000 tonnes, which would still represent a 5 percent increase from the previous year. In Tanzania, the main producing country in the subregion, the 2000 rice production estimate has been lowered by 85 000 tonnes to 615 000 tonnes, following reports of drought last October.

Southern Africa: The 2000 aggregate wheat crop is estimated at 2.2 million tonnes, some 10 percent higher than in 1999 but still below the five-year average. Production increased sharply in South Africa, the main producer of the subregion. By contrast, in Zimbabwe, the output was estimated to be one-quarter lower than in the previous year, following civil disturbance in agricultural areas.

Prospects for the subregion 's 2001 coarse grains, to be harvested from April, are favourable, reflecting generally good precipitation since the beginning of the season. However, more rains are needed in some countries. Despite the general favourable growing conditions so far, production may decline this year as a result of a decrease in the area planted from last year's level. In South Africa, the area planted is preliminary estimated to be substantially below last year's level in response to low grain prices. More rains are needed following dry weather in early January. In Zimbabwe, the outlook for the 2001 maize crop is poor. Disruptions due to the resettlement programme of commercial farms has resulted in a one-third decline in the area planted. Dry weather in the first half of January has worsened growing conditions and, if more rains are not received soon, further reductions in production are likely. In Malawi, the outlook for the maize crop is satisfactory following normal to above-normal precipitation since October and free input distribution to vulnerable groups. In Mozambique, abundant rains since mid-October have generally benefited coarse grains despite localized floods; however, conditions could deteriorate, reflecting high levels of the rivers and saturated soils in several areas. In Angola, erratic rains since the beginning of the season, coupled with reduced planting due to the intensification of the civil conflict at sowing time, are likely to result in another below-average output. In Zambia, widespread abundant rains since planting time have benefited the 2001 coarse grains, but early assessments indicate a decline in plantings due to shortages of agricultural inputs. In Lesotho, above average rains have benefited of coarse grain planting and development. In Namibia, more precipitation is urgently needed following dry and hot weather in the past month. More rains are also needed in Botswana, where precipitation has been erratic since the beginning of the season.

Planting of the 2001 rice is progressing in the subregion. The 2000 rice season remains one of the poorest in the decade, following adverse weather conditions in Mozambique and Madagascar, the two main rice producers. Madagascar's 2000 rice output is put at 2.2 million tonnes, about 400 000 tonnes less than in the previous year, while in Mozambique it is estimated to have fallen by 25 percent to 140 000 tonnes.

· Central America and the Caribbean

Harvesting of the 2000/01 wheat crop is due to start from April in the irrigated northwest producing areas of Mexico. Water reservoir levels are considered adequate and early forecasts indicate that output should be about average assuming normal weather conditions persist.

Harvesting of the 2000/01 second season coarse grain (mainly maize) and bean crops has been completed while it is about to start for the third season "apante" crop in some Central American countries. Below-average to outputs are provisionally estimated in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, as these countries have been affected by adverse weather during the first and second season crops. In the case of El Salvador, the situation has been worsened by the serious January 2001 earthquake. Localized losses are reported to the "apante" maize and beans crop. A detailed assessment of damage to the agricultural sector is not yet available. The main possible damage, however, could be to planting of the 2001/02 first season crop, which is due to start from late April or May, as landslides and severe damage to farming infrastructure are reported in some of the cereal growing areas. No significant damage to the sector is reported in Guatemala, also affected by the earthquake and average outputs for 2000/01 are reported. In Costa Rica, an average maize output for the year has also been collected. In Mexico, dry weather conditions are favouring the preparation for the forthcoming April/May sorghum planting. In the Caribbean, maize and sorghum output has recovered to average to above-average levels in the Dominican Republic, after adverse weather affected crops in the previous year. In Cuba, an average maize output has been collected. Outputs from other minor food and fruit crops have also been average. In Haiti, land is being prepared for planting of the 2001/02 first season coarse grain crops. Cereal production was affected last year by a severe dry spell during the first half of the year.

In Central America, the 2000 rice season has been completed in most countries, while planting of the new season crop will not start before March/April. After the long dry spell in July last year, some countries in the area were hit by hurricane `Keith'. As a result, the production is estimated to have fallen in 2000 in various countries, including El Salvador and Haiti. By contrast, rice output rose in Nicaragua to almost 300 000 tonnes, 14 percent more than in 1999, sustained by a sizeable expansion in the area planted.

· South America

Recent favourable weather conditions have benefited harvesting of the 2000/01 wheat crop in Argentina, the main producing country in the subregion. By early January, about 81 per cent of the harvest had been gathered and quality of the wheat collected is reported normal. Latest forecasts indicate that output should be slightly less than last year's above average level of 15.5 million tonnes. In Brazil, harvesting has been completed and a low output of 1.6 million tonnes has been gathered. This is the result of the adverse weather at planting and during the growing period. In Chile, harvesting is underway and early forecasts point to a recovery from last year's reduced crop. An average output of 1.4 million tonnes is anticipated which would be about 20 percent up from last year's weather-affected crop. In Uruguay, output is provisionally estimated at a below-average 400 000 tonnes, the result of reduced plantings caused by continuous rains. In the Andean countries, planting of the 2000/01 first season wheat crop has been completed in Bolivia, under normal weather conditions. A recovery is expected in the main producing eastern Department of Santa Cruz which was affected last year by intensive floodings. In Peru, a record 180 000 tonnes were collected in 2000. The bulk of the planting operations for the 2001 wheat crop are underway.

Early prospects for the 2001 coarse grain crops, mainly maize, are favourable in most of the southern countries. In Argentina, harvesting is due to start from March. Growing conditions are reported to be good, although recent high temperatures and lack of adequate moisture in some of the main growing areas could have some adverse effect on the crop; further, the area planted to maize is reduced with respect to last year. Early forecasts point out to a decrease in production from the 1999/2000 crop, but output will nevertheless remain above average. In Brazil, where harvesting is about to start, a significant recovery in maize production from the previous year is anticipated, assuming favourable weather conditions persist. This is principally the result of a near 10 percent increase in the area planted according to official sources. In Chile, harvesting is due from March and early forecasts point to an increase from last year's low level, but production would still remain below average. In Uruguay, production of maize is also expected to improve from last year's but still be below average.

In the Andean countries, in Bolivia, the Government declared a state of emergency in the departments of La Paz, Beni, Cochabamba and Oruro after heavy rains caused localized floods and mudslides. In Ecuador and Colombia, normal to above-normal rains have benefited planting of the 2001 maize crop currently underway, while in Peru, the bulk of the white maize sowing operations have been completed. In Venezuela, harvesting of the 2000 second season coarse grain crops has been completed and below-average maize and sorghum outputs collected.

In South America, where the planting of the 2001 rice season is well advanced, there are clear indications of a contraction in rice cultivation following the very poor returns faced by rice producers last year. The contraction is anticipated to be largest in the exporting countries, especially Argentina and Uruguay, at about 33 percent and 20 percent, respectively, as producers are shifting to more profitable crops. A decline of 7 percent in area is also projected in Bolivia. Low prices have also affected Brazil, the main rice producer and importer in the region, despite Government purchases to sustain the market last year. As a result, both rice area and output are forecast to drop in 2001 by about 9 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

· North America

In the United States, the final official estimate of the 2000 wheat crop is 60.5 million tonnes, 3.3 percent down from 1999 and the smallest crop since 1995. The decrease mostly reflects a lower average yield for the winter wheat crop than in 1999. According to the USDA Seedings report of 11 January, the winter wheat area for the 2001 harvest has declined to 16.7 million hectares, some 800 000 hectares or 5 percent less than the previous year and the lowest level since 1971. Dry conditions, which hampered planting in the main growing areas are cited as the major cause of the reduction. Growing conditions, however, have been generally satisfactory, although there is concern that above normal temperatures in some regions could render crops susceptible to damage if the weather should turn cold. In Canada, latest estimates put the 2000 wheat output at about 26.8 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from the previous year. However, the harvest was hampered by wet weather and the average quality of the crop is reported to be somewhat poorer than normal. Early indications for the 2001 wheat crop, the bulk of which will be sown in April/May, point to a similar overall area as in the previous year. The milling wheat area may increase at the expense of durum and oilcrops.

The final estimate of the United States 2000 coarse grains crop is 275 million tonnes, some 4 percent up from the previous year's crop and above the average of the past five years. Of the total, maize is estimated to account for about 253 million tonnes. In Canada, aggregate output of coarse grains in 2000 is estimated at 24.5 million tonnes, some 9 percent down from the previous year and the smallest crop since 1995. The decrease is largely due to wet and cold conditions throughout the season which affected yields.

In the United States, harvesting of the 2000 rice season has ended. Estimates of the country's rice output are unchanged from the last report, at 8.7 million tonnes, or 7 percent less than in 1999. The decline follows from a strong contraction in area, while record high yields were achieved. Most of the shortfall stemmed from reduced output of the long grain varieties.

· Europe

The latest estimate for the region's aggregate 2000 cereal output remains virtually unchanged from that forecast in November at 390 million tonnes, 1.6 percent up from the previous year. Output of wheat is estimated at almost 189 million tonnes, 6.2 percent more than in 1999. The bulk of the increase occurred among the EC countries and the Russian Federation. The latest estimate of the region's coarse grains output has been revised up by 5 million tonnes since November but nevertheless, at 199 million tonnes, remains below the previous year's output by almost 2 percent. Severe reductions in maize crops in several eastern European countries due to drought more than offset larger crops in the EC and the Russian Federation.

In the EC, early indications point to an overall reduction in the area sown to wheat for the 2001 harvest. Although adverse weather hampered autumn planting in northern parts of the community, a switch of land to feed cereal and oilseed crops was already expected in anticipation of increased demand from the feed industry following the ban on the use of meat and bone meal. The main reductions in winter wheat area are reported in France and the United Kingdom, while increased areas are reported in Austria, Germany and Sweden. Planting is still underway in some of the most southern producing areas of the Community. As of mid-January, planting was still not complete in some parts of Spain where adverse weather has persisted in recent weeks. The final wheat area may be reduced if conditions don't improve rapidly.

Harvesting of the 2000 paddy crop is complete in the EC. Flood problems in October in Italy reduced the country's rice production to 1.2 million tonnes, some 200 000 tonnes less than the previous year, also affecting negatively the quality of the crop. Rice output is also estimated to have fallen in Spain by close to 100 000 tonnes, to 750 000 tonnes. As a result, the estimate of EC paddy output in 2000 has been reduced from the previous report by about 200 000 tonnes to 2.4 million tonnes, 11 percent less than in 1999 and the lowest level since 1995.

In the central and eastern European countries, prospects for the winter cereal crops are somewhat unfavourable, reflecting persisting drought in Hungary and most of the Balkan peninsula to the south. Dry conditions hampered crop emergence in these countries while unusually warm temperatures have encouraged premature crop development, rendering them susceptible to any sudden drops in temperature. Winter weather conditions in Poland, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic are reported to be closer to normal.

In Bosnia Herzegovina, the area sown to wheat for 2001 is likely to decline in response to unremunerative support prices. In Bulgaria, the winter wheat area is officially estimated at some 1.2 million hectares, up about 10 percent from 1999. The barley area is also estimated up at about 230 000 hectares. Prospects for the crops improved in mid-January with the arrival of snow which will provide much needed moisture for development this spring. Latest reports as of late January indicate the crop is generally in good condition and almost certainly better than last year's at the same time. In Croatia, the outlook for the 2001 wheat crop is uncertain. Official plans, and support for the 2000/2001 winter crops sowing campaign, call for an 18 percent reduction in the sown area to wheat, and moisture supplies remain tight. In the Czech Republic, the winter cereal area is officially estimated at just over 1 million hectares, of which 865 000 hectares are wheat and 165 000 hectares are barley. Conditions for crops are reported to be somewhat more favourable than in the neighboring countries to the south as rainfall has been closer to the norm.

In the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), the 2000 cereal harvest fell by 40 percent to an estimated 5.2 million tonnes. Unremunerative prices for wheat, critical shortages of inputs, flooding and water logging reduced the 2000 wheat harvest to about 1.8 million tonnes while persistent drought virtually halved the spring maize crop (3.1 million tonnes) and also affected most other foodcrops. The outlook for the 2001 winter grain harvest is uncertain. Reports indicate that the area sown to wheat may have recovered to about normal levels, but much of the planting was late due to dry conditions in October/November and the availability of inputs remains problematic.

In Hungary, winter wheat and barley plantings are estimated at 1.2 million hectares and 200 000 hectares respectively, somewhat up from the previous year's level, which could allow some recovery in production this year. However, soil moisture reserves are reported to be very low after prolonged drought. Good precipitation is required soon to replenish reserves for spring growth. In Poland, where autumn and winter rainfall has been closer to normal than in the countries further south, some recovery in winter grain production is also expected after last year's reduced output. In Romania, early indications suggest that the winter wheat area is similar to that in the previous year at around 1.9 million hectares. After a long summer drought some scattered showers in the autumn

allowed planting to progress satisfactorily in the main producing areas. However, significant precipitation is needed to replenish soil moisture reserves for crop growth this spring. In the Slovak Republic, prospects for the winter grain crops are satisfactory and plantings have likely remained similar to last year's levels.

In the Baltic countries, (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) the 2000 cereal output recovered to about 3.8 million tonnes (1999: 3.3 million tonnes), with wheat output increasing somewhat to 1.4 million tonnes and coarse grain production rallying by 23 percent to 2.4 million tonnes. The early outlook for 2001 crops is satisfactory.

In the CIS countries west of the Ural Mountains, (Belarus, Moldova, Russian Federation and Ukraine) the early outlook for 2001 crops is satisfactory. The aggregate area sown to winter cereals for harvest in the spring summer of 2001 increased, notably in the Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Overall growing conditions have been satisfactory to date despite spells of extremely cold weather. In the Russian Federation, the area sown to winter crops increased by 0.5 million hectares to about 14.7 million hectares, mainly due to larger plantings in the North Caucasus. In the Ukraine, the area sown increased by an estimated 0.6 million hectares to 8.4 million hectares. Growing conditions have been good in the 2000/2001 season to date and some 88 percent of the crop is reported to be in good condition.

The aggregate 2000 cereal harvest of the four CIS countries in Europe is now estimated by FAO at 99 million tonnes, some 9 million tonnes more than the preceding year's low level, mainly due to better harvests in Belarus and the Russian Federation, which more than offset a reduction in the Ukraine. Aggregate wheat production rose to an estimated 52 million tonnes. Aggregate output of coarse grains in 2000 is estimated at 46 million tonnes, 6 million tonnes up from 1999. Output of paddy has remained stable at 0.5 million tonnes.

In Belarus, the 2000 cereal harvest is estimated at 4.4 million tonnes (1999: 3.6 million tonnes). In the Russian Federation, FAO's estimate of cereal production in 2000 is 70 million tonnes, some 11 million tonnes higher than FAO's estimate for production in 1999. FAO's estimates in both years are about 10 percent higher than the official estimates, (2000: 65.4 million tonnes; 1999: 54.7 million tonnes) in view of systematic underestimation. By contrast, in Moldova and Ukraine, the 2000 cereal harvest was again affected by drought. Output in Moldova is estimated at 2.0 million tonnes, marginally less than last year's poor 2.1 million tonnes. In the Ukraine, FAO now estimates the 2000 cereal harvest at only 22.5 million tonnes, less than the poor output of 1999 (26.4 million tonnes) and less than the official forecast of 24.4 million tonnes in view of traders and expert reports of overestimation, notably of the spring course grain crop.

· Oceania

In Australia, the recently completed 2000 winter wheat harvest is officially estimated at 19.6 million tonnes, more than 20 percent down from 1999. Reduced yields in Western Australia and Queensland, due to dry weather, more than offset bumper crops in some other regions. Output of winter coarse grains (mostly barley and oats), recovered from the reduced level in 1999 due to increased plantings but remained below the average of the past five years. Aggregate coarse grains output in 2000 is estimated at 9.5 million tonnes, about 10 percent up from the previous year's reduced crop. Early prospects for the summer 2001 coarse grain crops (mostly sorghum), which have recently been planted are somewhat unfavourable because of dry conditions and the final area sown is likely to be reduced. Planting of the 2001 season rice is progressing and Government reports indicate that the planted area could expand by 19 percent.

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