AUSTRALIA (10 September)
Some favourable rains in July and August improved prospects for the winter crops after a prolonged period of dry weather during the latter stages of planting and the establishment period. Latest official forecasts tentatively put the 2001 wheat crop at 20.1 million tonnes, compared to 21.2 million tonnes in 2000. The latest forecast is based on significantly smaller yields than those projected at the onset of planting. Regarding barley, the second most important winter cereal crop, output is forecast to increase marginally to 5.9 million tonnes, about 5 percent up from last year, as a result of expanded area. Barley has an extended planting window and is normally favoured by farmers when the planting season is late as in the case of this year.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA (18 September)
Flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains and tidal waves in August caused extensive damage to crops in several islands, particularly in mainland Bougainville. Food shortages are reported to be affecting some 50 000 Bougainvilleans and Carterets islanders. An urgent appeal for assistance has been issued to the National Government by the Bougainville provincial administration.
SAMOA (18 September)
Dry weather conditions in August resulted in sharply reduced water availability on the island. The river that supplies water to Apia, the capital, reached extremely low levels, raising concerns for sections of the population.