COSTA RICA (28 May)
The rainy season has started, and with it the 2001 agricultural campaign. White maize planting intentions remain unchanged from last year. Sowing of first season paddy crops is almost complete and the area planted is also expected to be similar to last year. Harvesting of the third and largest bean crop is complete, and output is estimated at 16 000 tonnes.
The marketing year 2000/01 (July/June) is coming to an end, and wheat imports are expected to be close to 120 000 tonnes. Imports of white maize are estimated at about 50 000 tonnes, and of yellow maize at 500 000 tonnes. Beans imports in marketing year 2001/02 (Jul/Jun) are forecast at 40 000 tonnes.
CUBA (28 May)
Heavy rains in May benefited flowering coffee plants, but forced the country to stop the harvest of 2001 sugar cane which was earlier affected by drought. Cuba’s sugar cane crop is now expected to yield 3,6 million tonnes, compared to 4,1 million tonnes last year. Paddy production is expected to be higher than last year, as moderate rain over Pinar del Río, La Habana and Matanzas partially recovered water reservoirs. The drought is not over despite the rains, and monitoring of water stress will be required throughout 2001 due to the accumulated water deficit.
Rice imports in marketing year 2001 (January/December) are forecast to remain unchanged from last year at 400 000 tonnes.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (28 May)
The rainy season has started, and with it the planting of first season crops. Spring paddy harvest is well advanced and a bumper crop of 540 000 tonnes is expected in 2001. Paddy prices are low due to large carry-over stocks from last year and the expectation of a bumper crop. The area planted with secondary food crops (jucca, beans and potatoes) is reported average.
Wheat imports in marketing year 2000/01 (July/June) are anticipated to reach 300 000 tonnes, while yellow maize imports (used as feed) are expected to remain unchanged from last year at 700 000 tonnes.
EL SALVADOR (28 May)
The country is slowly recovering from two strong earthquakes in January and February, but the provision of food and other types of emergency relief assistance is expected to continue until the harvest of the first crop season starts in August/September. The economy is reported to be showing signs of recovery, but the shocks left an additional 160 000 people living in poverty. The government is distributing agricultural input packages to small farmers in an attempt to ensure the planting of the first season crop, and official sources report that the output of basic grains of the current agricultural campaign is not likely to be below last year’s level. Small after-shocks are frequently being reported, and there is concern that hurricanes during the rainy season that has started could provoke land and mudslides.
The 2000/01 (July/June) marketing year is well advanced. Wheat imports are expected to be close to 200 000 tonnes, while maize imports are revised downwards to about 320 000 tonnes. Rice imports in marketing year 2001 (Jan/Dec) are forecast at 30 000 tonnes .
GUATEMALA (28 May)
Planting of first season crops is well advanced and the harvest is scheduled for August/September. April was a relatively dry month, but rains fell in May over the most important maize producing departments, including Jutiapa, Sololá, Quetzaltenango and San Marcos. This represents a good start to the agricultural campaign compared to last year, when planting was delayed until June due to the late arrival of rains.
Imports at the end of marketing year 2000/01 (July/June) are expected to be about 400 000 tonnes of wheat and 550 000 tonnes of maize (mostly yellow). Rice imports in marketing year 2001 (Jan/Dec) are forecast to increase to some 35 000 tonnes compared to 30 000 tonnes in 2000.
HAITI* (2 May)
Three days of continuous and heavy rains in mid-May marked the start of the rainy season, and planting of coarse grain crops is now under way. Planting intentions are expected to remain unchanged from last year. The rains caused some deaths and damaged plantations and livestock. However, the water deficit from last year’s drought is not covered yet, and a close monitoring of the situation is necessary during the forthcoming months to anticipate problems in the development of crops. The government is co-ordinating the supply of food aid as a way towards poverty alleviation and greater food security during these critical months between harvests. Food aid deliveries in marketing year 2000/01 (July/June) amounted to 85 000 tonnes.
HONDURAS (28 May)
Planting of the important first season maize crop has started and will continue until July. This normally accounts for more than 80 per cent of the total production. The area planted is expected to be normal due to the timely start of the rainy season. Planting of first season paddy started in March and a slight increase in area planted is anticipated. A new price for paddy has been agreed between farmers and the milling industry, which aims at fostering production in the current agricultural campaign (paddy production never recovered from Hurricane Mitch in 1998 when output fell by almost two thirds).
Wheat import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are forecast at about 200 000 tonnes. Maize imports in the current marketing year 2000/01 (July/June) should reach about 160 000 tonnes and a similar volume is forecast for next year.
MEXICO (28 May)
Harvesting of 2001 wheat is underway and output is expected to be 3.2 million tonnes, about 5 per cent lower than last year due to a lower area planted and dry weather conditions. Planting of rain-fed coarse grain crops started in April. Maize planting intentions are unchanged from last year, but if the rains are favourable this year, the maize area this summer should be about 1 million hectares higher, while output should be 2.6 million tonnes more than last year. Some 1.9 million hectares of sorghum are expected to be planted from July, representing a 4 per cent increase from last year, following an expansion in the demand from the animal feed industry. Paddy production for 2001 is forecast to remain unchanged from last year’s some 400 000 tonnes.
Imports in marketing year 2000/01 (July/June) are expected to be about 2.4 million tonnes of wheat, 5.6 million tonnes of maize and 4.2 million tonnes of sorghum. Rice import in marketing year 2000/01 are estimated at 440 000 tonnes.
NICARAGUA (30 May)
A timely start of the rainy season suggests a favourable prospect for winter coarse grain crops currently being planted in humid and semi-humid areas. The area planted this campaign is officially forecast to be about 4 per cent smaller than last year due to low prices and financial constraints. Paddy output in year 2000 is expected to be close to 300 000 tonnes.
Import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are forecast at 120 000 tonnes of wheat, 90 000 tonnes of maize and 90 000 tonnes of rice.