FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages No.5, November 2001

ASIA

AFGHANISTAN* (6 November)

Recent escalation of conflict and military action have displaced a large number of people exacerbating the grave food difficulties. Substantial food and other humanitarian assistance is urgently required. Even before the events of 11 September, Afghanistan was gripped by a grave food crisis following three consecutive years of drought and intensifying economic problems due to continuing civil conflict. An FAO/WFP mission to the country last May found evidence of emerging and widespread famine conditions in many parts of the country, where people had exhausted their coping strategies by selling their assets and migrating in search of food elsewhere within or outside the country. The military operations since 7 October have triggered fresh waves of population displacement, aggravating the already dire humanitarian situation.

While the majority of the around 23 million Afghans are facing severe food supply difficulties, some 7.5 million most affected people are in desperate need of food aid. WFP plans to deliver 52 000 tonnes of food aid per month to feed the most vulnerable people, both refugees (1.5 million) and resident population (6 million) in Afghanistan. However, transport and distribution difficulties are hampering the delivery of the required volumes. Some of the food would have to be airlifted to inaccessible areas of the country, in particular the central highlands before the onset of harsh winter in mid-November.

The current adverse situation coincides with the planting season for wheat which accounts for 80 percent of the country's total cereal production. With the population largely on the move, serious shortages of inputs and a disruption of farming activities by military operations, cereal production in 2001/2002 is set to decline significantly. This would further aggravate the already grave food supply situation in the country.

Such grave scenario comes at a time when the food supply position in the neighbouring countries is also seriously undermined by a prolonged drought. This year's food production in Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan has suffered a significant reduction due to serious drought. The unfavourable food supply situation, which has prompted emergency food assistance in some of these countries, therefore gives little comfort to millions of displaced and resident Afghans who in the past could meet part of their food needs with supplies from neighbouring countries. Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran have been supporting millions of refugees from past conflicts but their capacity to cope with the new arrivals is seriously compromised due to insufficient resources.

During the past three years, the country has witnessed a devastating drought which compounded the impact of years of conflict and brought a large section of the population to the brink of starvation. The 2001 cereal output, estimated at about 2 million tonnes, is about one-half of the production in 1998. As a result of reduced output in 2001, cereal import requirements in the current marketing year (July-June 2001/02) were forecast at a near record volume of some 2.2 million tonnes of which commercial imports were initially projected at 760 000 tonnes. Given the current situation, commercial imports may be only one-third of the earlier estimated volume. Assuming that all of the planned emergency food aid of 494 000 tonnes would be delivered by June 2002, the overall deficit in 2001/02 (July/June) is still likely to be of the order of 1.5 million tonnes of cereals. Only massive mobilization of food and other relief assistance and its distribution, particularly to the vulnerable groups, will avert the threat of starvation in the country.

When the conflict is finally resolved, medium-term agricultural rehabilitation/reconstruction measures in Afghanistan will need to address the reconstruction of irrigation systems, input supply to farmers, farm power, rehabilitation of orchards, livestock and forestry sub-sectors, extension and education and institutional capacity-building. FAO has launched an appeal for some US$200 million for the implementation of countrywide agricultural sector emergency relief and rehabilitation programme.

ARMENIA* (5 November)

Grain harvest in 2001 at 417 000 tonnes is nearly double the drought reduced harvest of 225 000 tonnes in 2000. Grain production this year, nearly 131 200 tonnes higher than the average of the past five years, includes 340 000 tonnes of wheat compared with 151 000 tonnes in 2000, and 74 000 tonnes of coarse grains compared with 71 000 tonnes in 2000. Given the regional drought and water shortages, efforts to increase area under summer crops and hence production has not been very successful, particularly in the Southern provinces bordering Iran and Azerbaijan.

Potato production, a major staple food crop, this year at 287 000 tonnes is similar to the poor harvest in 2000 but more than 25 percent below the average production level of the past five years. Cereal import requirement for the marketing year 2001/02 is estimated at about 303 000 tonnes including an estimated food aid requirement of 71 000 tonnes.

WFP has been providing food assistance to drought victims in the country's six northern regions under the "Assistance to Drought Victims" Emergency Operation (EMOP 6310.00) since December 2000.

In view of the logistical constraints in food delivery and the ongoing drought, the operation has been extended until May 2002 with a refocusing of efforts on the drought affected population in the southern regions of Vayots Dzor and Syunik, where drought has severely affected winter wheat, fodder crops, potato and livestock production. At the same time, WFP will continue to meet outstanding drought-related nutrition needs in the north.

From late 2000 until June/July 2001, WFP's food assistance in north involved 12 100 tonnes of food for a total of 217 700 drought victims provided under relief food assistance and asset creation activities.

At present, WFP is also implementing a Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) targeting vulnerable groups and refugees, the latter comprising 140 000 food aid beneficiaries.

AZERBAIJAN (5 November)

Grain production in 2001 is estimated at 1.6 million tonnes which is similar to the improved harvest of the preceding year. Regional drought and hot weather conditions did not affect the harvest, as most of the grains are grown in winter. Grain production includes 1.3 million tonnes of wheat, 200 000 tonnes of barley and 100 000 tonnes of maize.

Cereal import requirement for 2001/02 marketing year is estimated at 800 000 tonnes, including 780 000 tonnes of wheat and 20 000 tonnes of rice. Nearly all of the import requirement will be commercially procured. The internally displaced persons and vulnerable groups continue to depend on targeted food assistance. WFP has committed some 48 161 tonnes of food aid under a three year project (Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation) that began in July 1999 supporting some 485 000 beneficiaries.

BANGLADESH (6 November)

A severe cyclone struck Northern Bangladesh in October resulting in localized flooding and damage to the Aman rice crop.

Harvesting of the main Aman paddy crop which is planted in June/July has just started. Apart from a small Aus crop that is mainly planted in April/May for harvest around August, the other rice crop is the winter Boro crop which is planted in December/January for harvest in April/May.

Despite the damage, overall weather conditions have been favourable and paddy production in 2001 is expected to be around 36.6 million tonnes (24.4 million tonnes on milled basis). This is very similar to last year's rice production of 36.5 million tonnes

The 2001 aggregate cereal production forecast at 26.5 million tonnes (including rice in milled terms) is similar to that of last year as this year's monsoon passed without any major crop damage. Cereal imports for the marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are estimated to be around 1.7 million tonnes of which 1.4 million tonnes is wheat.

CAMBODIA (6 November)

Adequate rainfall benefited the crops in late September. Relief efforts are going on in the southern part of the country in Svay Rieng, Takeo and Kompot affected by floods in August. Some 500 000 of the flood affected people in the southern and western parts of the country are reported to be in need of assistance.

Latest estimates suggest that 14 400 hectares of rice seedlings for the wet season crop have been lost due either to the drought in July with the lowest precipitation levels for the last 30-40 years, or heavy flooding during August. According to official estimates, a total of 114 000 hectares, of which 104 000 hectares were under rice, have been affected by this year's floods.

The main wet season paddy crop is harvested from late November and contributes around 80 percent of the total rice production in the country. Rice is the main food crop as it accounts for around 84 percent of total food crop production while the remainder comes from dry season production.

Despite the damage in the flood affected areas and assuming favourable weather conditions for the remaining period of wet season paddy crop, this year's aggregate cereal production is estimated at around 2.8 million tonnes (rice on milled basis) which is above last year's above-average production of 2.7 million tonnes and is also above the last five-year average of 2.4 million tonnes.

The country has received around 26 000 tonnes of cereals, mainly rice, from the international community in food aid in the calendar year 2001.

In response to the recent floods FAO has provided emergency assistance with rice seeds for the up-coming planting season.

CHINA (6 November)

Owing to favourable weather conditions, 2001 wheat production is forecast at around 93.9 million tonnes, down by 5.7 percent from 2000. This includes 87.5 million tonnes of winter crop and 6.3 million tonnes from the spring crop. This year's rice crop estimated at around 180 million tonnes (122.6 million tonnes in milled terms) will be the smallest in seven years, due to unfavourable weather and low prices. Rice area at 28.2 million hectares, is the lowest on record and is 6 percent smaller than last year. Drought delayed planting and germination and affected yields in many areas. Excessive rainfall along the southern coast may have affected yields. Yields for this year's crop were estimated at 6.34 tonnes per hectare, similar to last year and only slightly below the five-year average. China's 2001 maize production has been forecast at 110.2 million tonnes, which is around 4 percent above last year but much below the average of last 5 years of 120 million tonnes. It is expected that the country will import a total of 5.8 million tonnes of cereals for 2001/02 out of which around 2.2 million tonnes is barley and some 2 million tonnes is wheat along with rye and rice.

 

CYPRUS (6 November)

Sowing of the 2002 wheat and barley crops has commenced. Aggregate cereal output in 2001 is estimated at 129 000 tonnes, higher than the previous five year's average.

Imports of wheat in 2001/02 (May/April) are forecast at 100 000 tonnes, while aggregate imports of barley and maize are forecast at some 540 000 tonnes, unchanged from last year.

EAST TIMOR (6 November)

Planting of the main 2001/02 season paddy and maize crops is underway. Prospects are favourable due to adequate rainfall and increased plantings and improved seed availability. Harvesting of the main season maize crop starts in February/ March next year.

GEORGIA* (5 November)

Grain production has nearly doubled in 2001 at 719 000 tonnes compared with the drought reduced harvest of the preceding year. This year’s harvest includes 306 000 tonnes of wheat, 350 000 tonnes of maize and 50 000 tonnes of barley. Drought in the western parts of the country severely compromised spring crop production and many drought-affected farmers are in need of emergency assistance.

Cereal import requirement in 2001/02 marketing year is estimated at 460 000 tonnes, including 450 000 tonnes of wheat. Food aid requirement for 2001/02 marketing year is estimated at 81 000 tonnes.

Following a serious drought that affected Georgia last year WFP appealed for some 66 000 tonnes to cover the basic needs of 696 000 most vulnerable drought-affected victims until the next main harvest, for a period of eight months (November 2000-June 2001).

A Household Food Economy Assessment undertaken in November 2000 identified the targeting criteria and recommended a lower beneficiary figure of 540 300, which was adopted. Due to the late arrival of food commodities, distributions started with four month delay; the EMOP was scheduled to terminate on 22 October 2001 but with the second drought in some areas it is now extended until 30 April 2001. So far more than 24 000 tonnes of food have been distributed.

In July 2001, drought hit Imereti region in West Georgia for the second year, mainly affecting the staple crops: maize and beans. During the extension of its operation, WFP intends to meet the needs through the implementation of community food for works activities in drought affected regions including Imereti.

INDIA (6 November)

A severe cyclone that hit the south-eastern state of Andhra Pradesh in October caused 59 deaths and 200 people missing according to unofficial reports. Some 46 000 people had to be evacuated to relief camps.

Inadequate monsoon in southern Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh states will result in a maize output similar to the previous year's output of about 12 million tonnes. The monsoon is reported to be above-normal in other parts of the country but the southern states received less rains earlier in the season.

Early indications suggest an above-average rice crop for the 2001/02 season. The aggregate cereal production in 2001 is expected to be 187 million tonnes (rice in milled terms) which is average and is slightly below last year’s above-average production of 192 million tonnes.

INDONESIA* (6 November)

Planting of the main rice crop has just started. Official estimate of rice output for 2001 season is 50 million tonnes. Production of coarse grains, chiefly maize, is expected to be close to the average output of 9.2 million tonnes.

The aggregate cereal production for 2001 is forecast at 59.2 million tonnes (40.7 million tonnes in milled rice terms) which is below last years’ but close to average production of 59.8 million tonnes (41.3 million tonnes in milled terms).

IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF (6 November)

This year's drought has affected 20 of 28 provinces in the country. Water is currently being rationed in most major cities, including the capital, Tehran. However, the earlier production forecast of 7.5 million tonnes of wheat for 2001 is expected to be realized and the Rural Cooperative Organization has purchased around 4.7 million metric tonnes of wheat from local farmers so far during the current marketing year. This is, however, much below the five-year average of 9.7 million tonnes.

Official estimates suggested that due to continuing drought conditions for three consecutive years, the 2001 rice harvest is expected to be 2.2 million tonnes (1.4 million tonnes on milled basis), down 4 percent from last year. Rice production has successively declined for the past three years, due to shortage of irrigation water, reducing plantings.

As a consequence of worsening humanitarian situation in the neighbouring Afghanistan, UNHCR estimates about 400 000 more people could seek refuge in the Islamic Republic of Iran in addition to more than 2 million already in the country. To reduce the number to manageable levels, the government is reported to be setting up camps inside Afghanistan along its 900 km long border.

Current estimates indicate wheat imports at around 7 million tonnes in 2001/02 (April/March).

IRAQ* (6 November)

Planting of the winter crops, which normally starts in the second half of October, is underway. However, production is likely to be constrained by the serious shortages of essential agricultural inputs. Three consecutive years of severe drought and inadequate availability of essential agricultural inputs have seriously affected crop and livestock production. Last year, an FAO/WFP/WHO Food Supply and Nutrition Assessment Mission found that in the most affected centre/south areas, not only were the plantings reduced, but also some 75 percent of the cropped area under wheat and barley was heavily damaged. Total cereal production in 2000, estimated at some 796 000 tonnes, was about 47 percent below 1999 and 60 percent below the average of the past 5 years.

In 2001, reports from the three Northern Governorates indicate an increased cereal crop compared to last year due to better yields. However, parts of Suleimaniyah and Erbil Governorates were affected by drought resulting in reduced harvest.

Cereal imports under the SCR 986 oil-for-food deal have led to significant improvements in the food supply situation. However, child malnutrition rates in the centre/south of the country do not appear to have improved significantly and nutritional problems remain serious and widespread.

ISRAEL (6 November)

Planting of the year 2002 wheat and barley crops, to be harvested during April/May next year, is underway. Production of the wheat crop in 2001 is forecast at 170 000 tonnes, more than double last year’s crop that was affected by severe drought. Imports of cereals in 2001/02 (July/June) are forecast at some 2.9 million tonnes.

JAPAN (6 November)

Slow-moving and powerful Typhoon Danas hit Japan in early September lashing the islands with torrential rains and high winds, killing five people and leaving at least two missing.

With the harvesting of the main rice crop for 2001 under progress, early official estimates suggest an above-average rice paddy yield of 6.7 tonnes per hectare owing to favourable weather since July. Despite the high yields, a 70 000 hectare reduction of rice-planted area to 1.7 million hectares in calendar year 2001 from the previous year, the total rice production is expected to decline by nearly 5 percent to 11.3 million tonnes.

JORDAN (6 November)

Sowing of the 2002 wheat and barley crops, for harvest in May/June next year, is underway. Three consecutive years of severe drought have seriously damaged cereal and horticultural crops. In 2001, aggregate output of wheat and barley, estimated at 20 000 tonnes, was less than half last year’s below average output. The livestock sector was also affected and many sheep farms were seriously affected.

KAZAKHSTAN (3 November)

Grain harvesting is virtually complete and total output is estimated at 16.5 million tonnes compared with 11.6 million tonnes in 2000. Grain production, which is about 5.2 million tonnes higher compared with the average of the past five years, includes 13.5 million tonnes of wheat, 2 million tonnes of barley and 260 000 tonnes of maize. On average, grain yields in 2001 are higher by 366kg per hectare and area sown by 425 000 hectares compared with 2000. Favourable weather conditions and virtually disease-free crops have contributed to higher output this year. However, some reports suggest that less quality wheat might be available due to heavy rains during October.

Kazakhstan is set to export 4.6 million tonnes of cereals during the 2001/02 marketing year (July/June), nearly 4.2 million tonnes of which will be wheat. Last year, the country exported some 4 million tonnes of cereals, mostly wheat. The Government intends to increase the amount of stocks from 1.5 million tonnes in 2000/01 marketing year to about 3.2 million tonnes in 2001/02 marketing year.

KOREA, DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF* (6 November)

A recent joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to DPR Korea estimated aggregate cereal production at about 4.26 million tonnes (3.54 million tonnes in milled basis), above last year and one of the best harvest since 1995/1996.

The factors behind this strong recovery include favourable performance of rains from mid-June through August, international assistance with the provision of fertilizers, improved and timely availability of farm machinery and other inputs, intensified national endeavours including increased budgetary allocation for agriculture and mobilization of people’s efforts.

Despite the substantial recovery, however, domestic output would be insufficient to meet minimum food needs of the country.

The cereal deficit for 2001/02 (November/October) is estimated at 1.47 million tonnes compared to 2.2 million tonnes in the previous year. With commercial imports anticipated at 100 000 tonnes, 1.37 million tonnes will need to be covered by food aid and concessional food imports. Based on vulnerability analysis and existing targeting capacities, the Mission recommended mobilization of 525 000 tonnes of food aid in cereals and 85 000 tonnes of other food items during 2001/02 for the population groups that are particularly at risk.

KOREA, REPUBLIC OF (6 November)

Wheat and maize are almost entirely imported, whilst the country on average produces around 5 million tonnes of rice (milled) per annum, during the main season which extends from around May to October.

Despite favourable weather conditions, the official forecast for main rice crop for 2001, currently being harvested, has been lowered to 7.4 million tonnes (5.5 million tonnes in milled rice equivalent), following a downward revision in the planted area. The production is higher than the last five-year average of 7.1 million tonnes (5.3 million in milled rice equivalent). With the large crop, ending stock levels are forecast to reach 1.8 million tonnes.

KYRGYZ REPUBLIC (5 November)

Grain harvest this year is estimated at more than 1.7 million tonnes compared with 1.57 million tonnes in 2000. This includes 1.2 million tonnes of wheat, 320 000 tonnes of maize, 150 000 tonnes barley and 15 000 tonnes of rice. Cereal import requirement in 2001/02 marketing year is estimated at 159 000 tonnes, including an estimated food aid requirement of 50 000 tonnes. In 2000/01 marketing year, Kyrgyzstan imported some 136 000 tonnes mainly from the CIS countries.

LAOS* (6 November)

With the harvesting of the wet season paddy crop production for 2001 currently underway, forecasts remain above average around 2.2 million tonnes (1.3 million tonnes in milled rice equivalent) due to generally favourable weather conditions.

Wet paddy is grown in the lowland of Mekong River Basin while a smaller low performing monsoon crop is cultivated in the uplands. While the overall rice production for 2001 is satisfactory, there are food shortages for the households affected by last year’s devastating floods which destroyed 43 000 out of a total of 520 000 hectares of paddy crop.

LEBANON (6 November)

The planting of the wheat and barley crops is underway. However, domestic cereal production usually covers only about 10 percent of the consumption requirements. Aggregate production of wheat and barley crops in 2001 is estimated at 88 000 tonnes, about the same as last year. Imports of wheat in 2001/02 (July/June) are forecast at some 0.5 million tonnes, similar to last year.

MALAYSIA (6 November)

The harvesting of the main paddy crop is still awaited as most parts of the country registered above normal rainfalls making the realization of the forecast 2.3 million tonnes (1.5 million tonnes in milled rice equivalent) more likely.

Normally a third of domestic consumption requirements of rice are imported into the country, whilst wheat and maize are almost entirely imported.

MONGOLIA* (6 November)

Harsh weather conditions for the last several years have caused progressively shrinking cereal production and livestock. Excessive heat and shortage of rainfall during the summer have left 30 percent of the country experiencing drought and a further 40 percent of the territory suffering from extreme dryness.

In anticipation of another harsh winter, the government is preparing necessary contingency plans for the coming months. With extremely cold temperatures falling as low as minus 35 Celsius, it is expected that over 22 000 herder families in 80 counties need food and other material assistance through the international agencies during the critical preparation period for the winter. During the period from October to December 2001, a total of 35 000 beneficiaries in the 11 worst-affected provinces will be provided with supplementary emergency food assistance by the international community. The country has received 63 300 tonnes of wheat in food aid in 2000/01 (October/September).

MYANMAR (6 November)

Harvesting of the main monsoon rice crop for 2001 is near completion. Main season rice normally accounts for around 85 percent of aggregate production the remaining 15 percent coming from the second, or dry season crop, which is planted in October/November for harvest the following April/May. Current forecast is that paddy production in the 2001 marketing year will be 20.6 million tonnes (13.1 million tonnes in milled rice equivalent) which is above the average for the last 5 years. Rainfall for September remained below normal.

NEPAL (6 November)

Heavy rains in the monsoon season caused flooding and extended damage in tera (flat) and landslides in hilly regions. Preparations are underway for the harvesting of the 2001 paddy crop. The production is tentatively forecast at 4.2 million tonnes (2.8 million tonnes in milled rice equivalent) which is above average.

The maize crop of the season has also been above the average for last 5 years at 1.5 million tonnes.

PAKISTAN (6 November)

The country faces a fresh influx of large number of refugees as UNHCR estimates that well over 100 000 Afghans have already entered Pakistan since the September 11 events in the United States. The country already hosts some 2 million Afghan refugees. It is reported that around 7.5 million people have been reported to at the risk of starvation due to scarcity of food this winter inside Afghanistan. While key prices for food items have remained stable in the wake of the crisis, the international community is buying and borrowing wheat from Pakistan for food aid which could put pressure on local supplies of wheat in the country as the crisis lingers on.

The wheat output in the 2001 crop is estimated at 19 million tonnes against an original projection of 20 million tonnes. Production has slipped this year because of a near- drought situation at the time of sowing in November, but stocks from last year's crop are expected to leave a surplus of 1 million tonnes for export. Last year, the country had a bumper crop of 21 million tonnes, exceeding its domestic demand of 19 million tonnes.

The prospects for the paddy crop in the field are reported to be satisfactory in the Punjab province, while harvesting for the early rice varieties has already started and the fine varieties of rice are at maturity stage in the Punjab and Sindh provinces. With the effects of drought now disappearing through beneficial rains this monsoon, a harvest of around 5.8 million tonnes of rice (3.9 million tonnes on milled basis) is forecast in the season 2001 against an earlier estimate of 3.9 million tonnes and compared with 7.2 million tonnes in year 2000.

Harvesting of Kharif maize crop is underway while preparations are being made for the plantation of Rabi wheat. The government has fixed the wheat production target at 20.1 million for the coming Rabi season.

PHILIPPINES (6 November)

More than 200 people were killed when typhoon Lingling swept across the Philippines, triggering flash floods and mudslides in early November. The worst hit area was the Camiguin island, with over 100 people dead. Nearby provinces were also badly affected. Flash floods in October swept through parts of the southern Philippine port city of Zamboanga. Damage to crops has not yet been assessed.

Harvesting of main season rice is well advanced and despite the floods in July, the production in 2001 is expected to be 12.8 million tonnes (8.4 million tonnes in milled rice equivalent), some 14 percent higher than the 5 year average of 11.2 million tonnes.

Maize production in 2001 is expected to be above average at 4.5 million tonnes. Philippines experiences an annual shortfall of between 800 000 and 1 million tonnes of maize and local firms fill the gap by importing maize, feed wheat and other substitutes.

SAUDI ARABIA (6 November)

The wheat crop for harvest in April/May next year is now being planted. Production of wheat in 2001 is estimated at 1.8 million tonnes, similar to last year, which together with stocks, will be sufficient to cover the country’s requirements. Scattered adult desert locusts may be present and breeding on the Red Sea coastal plains near Jizan. No significant developments are expected. Total import of cereals in 2001/02 (July/June) is currently estimated at about 6.2 million tonnes, including about 5 million tonnes of barley.

SRI LANKA (6 November)

A prolonged drought in seven southern districts for three consecutive seasons leading to crop failure has affected 1.6 million people and has caused more than 300 000 farmers to become food insecure. The majority of the victims are landless labourers, small-scale farmers and subsistence farming families. Many subsistence farmers have almost completely lost the Maha (wet) and Yala (dry) 2000 crop and the Yala (2001) crops, according to an FAO Drought Assessment and Project Formulation Mission. In Hambantota district alone, paddy cultivation has dropped from 49 000 hectares to 27 000 hectares , a fall of 45 percent. The paddy yield in rain-fed areas has also declined from 2.5 tonnes per hectare to 0.8 tonnes per hectare.

A locally organized FAO/WFP Food Needs Assessment Mission in early September highlighted the food insecurity of the 300,000 most affected people and recommended immediate food assistance. A supplementary feeding programme was also recommended in order to maintain the nutritional status of the most vulnerable groups. International food assistance will be targeted to the 300,000 beneficiaries who are considered the most vulnerable in the eleven targeted divisions in the three most seriously affected districts: Hambantota, Moneragala and Ratnapura.

Planting of the Maha (monsoon) crops started in October. The Maha crop production is expected to be around 1.6 million tonnes (1.1 million tonnes on milled basis) in 2001. The Yala planting takes place in April, with harvesting in September. The total paddy production for 2001 is forecast at 2.6 million tonnes (1.8 million tonnes on milled basis).

For the year 2001, cereal imports are estimated at 1.1 million tonnes. Around 56 000 tonnes of cereals, mainly wheat, have been received in food aid out of total pledges of around 115 000 tonnes by the international community.

SYRIA (6 November)

Recent light showers in parts of the country prompted planting of winter grains. Sowing of the 2002 wheat and barley crops is expected to continue until mid-January next year. Crop and livestock production in 2001 has recovered from the drought reduced harvest of the previous two years. The 2001 wheat production, estimated at 4.5 million tonnes, is about 67 percent above last year’s crop and well above average. Barley production, which is almost entirely rainfed, is estimated at 1.3 million tonnes, well above last year’s reduced crop and about two-thirds above the previous five-year average.

TAJIKISTAN* (5 November)

An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission that visited the country between June and July 2001, estimated total cereal production at about 300 000 tonnes compared with 352 000 tonnes in 2000. Wheat output, the main staple crop, is estimated at 233 000 tonnes this year compared to 283 000 tonnes last year and 366 000 tonnes in 1999. Drought, water shortages, dilapidated irrigation systems and structural problems have worsened the food supply situation this year compared to last year when a large deficit was experienced, with food supplies remaining very tight throughout the year. The two main rivers, Amu and Syr, feeding the extensive irrigation system of the country, have been flowing at about 50 percent of the average levels. Precipitation levels are estimated to be about 60 percent of the average annual levels, in particular during the crucial months of March and April for the wheat crop. Agricultural inputs, particularly quality seeds, mineral fertilizers and machinery are in short supply and inadequate to meet demand. In addition, about 40-50 percent of the water lifting equipment and about 60 percent of the heavy machinery used for canal and drainage maintenance are out of order, which have significantly reduced the efficiency of the irrigation system.

Cereal import requirement (mainly wheat) for 2001/02 marketing year (July/June) is estimated at 788 000 tonnes. After taking into account a projected commercial import capacity of about 400 000 tonnes and pledged food aid of 76 000 tonnes, the uncovered deficit is estimated at 312 000 tonnes. A food deficit of this magnitude for an impoverished population, if not addressed, would have dire food security consequences. Due to a similar situation last year and lack of alternative sources of income, many households have exhausted their coping strategies and need emergency food assistance. In some areas famine-like conditions persist where people have began searching for food in highly unusual places.

WFP has been providing emergency food assistance to 1.16 million people under vulnerable group feeding (600 000 people) and through food for asset rehabilitation (500 000 people, of which 100 000 directly participating in FFAR projects) programmes since October 2000. From January to October 2001, WFP, together with its Implementing Partners, distributed in total some 56 000 tonnes of mixed food commodities. The current Emergency Operation, which was supposed to end in December, will be extended in time until June 2002 in view of this year’s third consecutive drought, affecting some 1 million people in Tajikistan.

THAILAND (6 November)

Harvesting of the 2001 paddy crop has started. Despite rains and floods in August, the current crop remains unaffected and the production is forecast at 24.2 million tonnes (16 million tonnes in milled rice equivalent) which is close to last year’s crop. The country is the largest rice exports in the world and the rice export target for 2002 has been set at 6.5 million tonnes, down from an estimated 7 million due to global economic conditions and stronger competition.

TURKEY (6 November)

Sowing of the 2002 wheat crop is underway. The 2001 wheat production is estimated at 16 million tonnes, about 11 percent below last year due to unfavourable weather in parts. Similarly, the barley crop estimated at about 6.6 million tonnes, is nearly 17 percent below the average for the previous five years.

Wheat imports in the current 2001/02 (July/June) marketing year are expected to be around 1.5 million tonnes and maize imports at 950 000 tonnes.

TURKMENISTAN (5 November)

Drought and irrigation water shortages for two years in succession have affected crop production. Reservoirs fed by the Amu Darya, providing nearly 90 percent of the country’s irrigation needs, have been significantly lower than the previous year, while the Murghab river supplying irrigation water to Mary province has been virtually dry for most part of the cropping season this year.

FAO tentatively forecasts grain output at about 1.7 million tonnes, similar to its estimates of 2000, including 1.6 million tonnes of wheat, 50 000 tonnes of barley, 20 000 tonnes of maize and 20 000 tonnes of rice. Grain production levels were maintained due to some increase in area under wheat. The worst affected areas are once again Mary province (bordering the Islamic Republic of Iran and Afghanistan) and Dashagouz (bordering Karaklpakstan region of Uzbekistan). The cereal import requirement for 2001/02 is estimated at about 61 000 tonnes. Despite preliminary reports of food shortages and concerns over the tight food supply situation in the country, the Government has not appealed for any international assistance.

UZBEKISTAN* (5 November)

This year’s total grain harvest is estimated at about 3.5 million tonnes, about 500 000 tonnes less than the poor harvest in 2000 and about 0.9 million tonnes less than in 1999 when production was considered average. Wheat production is estimated at 3.2 million tonnes and rice at 90 000 tonnes, which compares with 1999 production levels of 3.6 million tonnes of wheat and 421 000 tonnes of rice. The worst affected areas are Karakalpakstan and Khorzam autonomous regions, where the spring-sown area and output have fallen by half. Cotton, the main export crop, is forecast to fall far short of the official target output of 3.9 million tonnes (cottonseed). Severe water shortages and drought two years in succession are contributing factors to a significantly low crop production. Water flows in the two main sources of irrigation, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers are reported to be about 40 percent of the average flows, while record hot and dry weather conditions have increased demand for irrigation water. In addition, the available scarce water is reported to be contaminated with high levels of salinity.

The cereal import requirement in 2001/02 is tentatively estimated at about 1 million tonnes, roughly 398 000 tonnes higher than the preceding year’s imports. Food aid requirement is estimated at about 121 000 tonnes, including 60 000 tonnes of wheat, 51 000 tonnes of rice and 10 000 tonnes of maize. The Government has appealed for international assistance in the rehabilitation of the irrigation systems, desalinization equipment and targeted food aid in some areas. UNOCHA estimates that nearly 600 000 people particularly in Karakalpakstan and Khorzam may face food shortages unless assisted. An FAO/WFP mission in October 2000 found that 45 000 people in Karakalpakstan alone had experienced severe food shortages.

VIET NAM (6 November)

Flooding in the Mekong Delta in late October in the nine central provinces have affected some 1.3 million people. More than 250 000 houses and almost 40 000 hectares of agricultural land have been damaged or destroyed. The government has requested urgent international emergency assistance to the affected communities. Adverse weather conditions continued with typhoon Lingling, the worst to hit Viet Nam in 15 years, causing damage to infrastructure mainly in the Phu Yen and Quang Ngai Provinces.

This year’s floods follow last year's worst floods in decades that caused extensive damage to property and infrastructure and many deaths.

Official estimates have put the 2001 paddy production at around 31.8 million tonnes (20.7 million tonnes in milled rice equivalent). A rice export target for 2002 of 4.0 million tonnes has been set by the government, a rise of more than eight percent over the target for this year.

FAO has provided emergency assistance through its TCP programme for the provision of rice seeds for immediate distribution in the flood-affected regions in the southern parts of Viet Nam.

YEMEN (6 November)

Good rains in July and August have benefited the 2001 main season cereal crops. Output of the sorghum crop, now being harvested, is forecast at about 410 000 tonnes, some 2 percent above the average for the previous five years. Conditions are expected to be favourable for breeding of desert locust in the wadis and to a lesser extent in the Red Sea Coastal Plains where good rains have fallen on a regular basis since July.


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