FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 02/01 - MOLDOVA (13 February)
MOLDOVA (13 February)
After two poor years, normal precipitation and temperatures in the autumn favoured the planting of winter wheat and barley for harvest in 2001. Growing conditions have been good this season to date and crop development is markedly better than at the corresponding time last year.
The 2000 grain harvest is officially reported to have reached 2.1 million tonnes, significantly higher than earlier estimates and only marginally less than the equally drought affected harvest in 1999. However, farmers, traders and independent analysts question the official estimate while analysts evaluate the yield of wheat at 75-50 percent of the official estimate of over 2 tonnes/hectare. By November 2000, the domestic price of wheat had more than doubled, indicating a tighter grain market. Wheat production, initially targeted at 1 million tonnes, is officially reported to be 780 000 tonnes, but analysts put it as low as 500 000 tonnes. Equally, the 2000 maize harvest, officially forecast at 1.091 million tonnes could also be less.
The 2000 wheat harvest is adequate to meet food consumption needs, although in view of the poor quality of much of the wheat, imports of high gluten wheat are necessary to mix with local supplies for quality bread. Indications are that purchasing power could keep such imports low. Following the second poor harvest in succession the availability of feedgrains for livestock is very tight and high prices will necessitate substantial destocking to continue. The government has prohibited wheat exports this year and is trying to procure 60 000-80 000 tonnes for domestic reserves, with little success.