FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages No.5, November 2001 - Page 4

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COUNTRY REPORTS 1/

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1/ Bold print is used for countries with unfavourable crop prospects for current crops and/or uncovered shortfalls in food supplies in the current marketing year requiring exceptional and/or emergency assistance. Countries affected or threatened by successive bad crops and/or food shortages are marked with an asterisk (*).

NORTHERN AFRICA

ALGERIA (15 November)

Heavy rains in early November have resulted in heavy flooding, particularly in urban areas where a large number of casualties is reported as well as significant damage to housing and infrastructure. The abundant rains arrived after weeks of dry weather which had delayed planting of the winter cereal crops for harvesting in the spring/summer of 2002. The 2001 aggregate cereal output is estimated at 2.6 million tonnes compared to 0.9 million tonnes harvested in 2000 and to the past 5-year average of 2.3 million tonnes. Coarse grain production practically doubled from the previous year, while wheat output was almost three times as much mainly as a consequence of favourable rainfall.

The increase in production is likely to result in lower imports in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June), but the country will still have to import some 4.5 million tonnes of wheat, 650 000 tonnes of barley and about 1.5 million tonnes of maize to meet the strong domestic demand.

EGYPT (12 November)

Harvesting of the 2001 coarse grain and paddy crops is well advanced while planting of the irrigated wheat crop is due to start in the next few weeks. The general state of the crops is reported to be normal. An average wheat crop was harvested in 2001. Coarse grain output for the year is provisionally estimated at 7.4 million tonnes, slightly below last year's above-average level, while paddy production is expected to be average at 5.4 million tonnes (3.7 million tonnes in milled rice equivalent).

Imports of wheat in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are forecast to increase from the previous year's 6.2 million tonnes to 6.6 million tonnes in response to strong domestic demand and despite the considerable increase in price caused by higher international transportation costs. By contrast, maize imports are anticipated to decline from the precedent year's relatively high level.

MOROCCO (12 November)

Land preparation has started for planting of the 2001/02 winter crops. Aggregate cereal production in 2001 is more than doubled the output in the previous year, when crops were affected by severe drought. Nevertheless, aggregate cereal production is some 10 percent below the average of the past 5 years. This is mainly the result of late rains at spring planting which contributed to a reduction of the area planted to wheat and barley, with respect to earlier intended plantings, in some parts of the country.

Wheat imports in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are anticipated to decline from 3.5 million tonnes in the previous year to some 3 million tonnes. Coarse grain imports, principally barley, are also forecast to decline from 2 million tonnes to about 1.7 million tonnes.

TUNISIA (15 November)

Planting of the 2001/02 wheat and barley crops started recently under generally dry weather conditions for harvest in spring next year. Aggregate cereal production in 2001 is provisionally estimated at 1.6 million tonnes, compared to 1.4 million tonnes in 2000 and to the past 5-year average of 1.7 million tonnes. Output increases are reported for every cereal, particularly for barley.

Wheat imports in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are forecast to remain close to the previous year's 1 million tonnes, while maize imports are expected to decline slightly from the previous year.

WESTERN AFRICA

BENIN (6 November)

The rainy season is drawing to a close. Rains ceased in the north in mid-October and millet and sorghum are being harvested. The second maize crop is developing satisfactorily in the south. Crop prospects are generally favourable.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. The arrival of the recently harvested cereals on the markets increased supplies and prices started to decrease. Cereal imports for domestic use and re-exports during the 2001 marketing year are estimated at 138 000 tonnes and food aid requirements at 11 000 tonnes.

BURKINA FASO (6 November)

The rainy season is over. Rains ceased somewhat early in late September in the north and the centre, thus reducing yield potential for coarse grains which were in the critical grain-filling/maturation stage. Rains were limited in the west in early October and almost completely ceased in mid-October. In the agro-pastoral areas, pastures are abundant while most dams and water points have been refilled. A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission which visited the country in late October estimated with national services the aggregate output of cereals in 2001 at 2 796 000 tonnes. This is 22 percent above the previous year's level and 15 percent above average.

Following this good harvest, the overall food supply is expected to improve from the precarious situation during the lean season following the 2000 reduced harvest in several areas. The national security stock which was depleted by food aid distributions or sales at subsidized prices, is expected to be reconstituted to its optimal level of 35 000 tonnes. However, localized food supply difficulties may persist in some areas affected by poor crops due to the early end of the season.

CAPE VERDE (6 November)

Reduced rains in September severely affected crop development, notably in the two islands of Santo Antao and Sao Nicolau and in the semi-arid zones of Santiago and Fogo islands. A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission in mid-October estimated 2001 production of cereals at 18 680 tonnes against 24 341 tonnes in 2000, a decrease of about 23 percent, but still above the average of the last five years.

As a result of this reduced production, the overall food supply situation will remain tight in several areas. The government has launched an appeal for international food assistance as well as for agricultural inputs.

 

CHAD (6 November)

After generally above-average precipitation in September, rains ceased in the Sahelian zone in early October and in the Sudanian zone in late October. Pastures are abundant. Prospects for sorghum recession crops are good. A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission which visited the country in mid-October estimated the aggregate output of cereals at a record level of 1 237 250 tonnes, 33 percent above the previous year's level and 15 percent above average.

As a result of this anticipated good harvest, the food supply situation will improve, notably in the deficit areas of the Sahelian zone affected by poor crops in 2000. Prices of cereals decreased significantly in September and October. However, about 143 000 people have been identified as at risk of food difficulties following flooding in areas of the Sudanian zone which caused damage to houses and about 144 000 hectares of farm land. An influx of expellees from Lybia and population displacement from Tibesti are reported in the north. During the lean season, a WFP Emergency Operation provided 27 000 tonnes of food aid to 375 000 beneficiaries in eight departments of the Sahelian zone.

COTE D'IVOIRE (6 November)

Precipitation was generally average in September and below-average in October, except in the extreme south. This may have affected yield potential of the millet and sorghum crops which are being harvested in the north. The second maize crop is due to be harvested in December in the south.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. In addition to the 120 000 Liberian refugees already in the west of the country, an influx of new refugees has been reported following fighting in Lofa county in Liberia.

THE GAMBIA (6 November)

Precipitation was average or below average from mid-September to early October but improved significantly during the second dekad of October. The rainy season ended in late October. A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission visited the country in late October and estimated with national services the aggregate output of cereals (including rice) at 198 200 tonnes, against 175 900 tonnes last year, which was already a record level. This year's output is about 13 percent above last year and 49 percent above the last five-year average. Total coarse grain output increased by 15 percent over 2000 and 56 percent over the five-year average. The total harvested area under cereals is estimated at 152 800 hectares which is 14 percent above the previous year and 36 percent above the last five-year average. Major cash crops such as groundnut and sesame also performed well. Groundnut production is estimated at 149 640 tonnes, 8 percent above last year and 54 percent above the five-year average. Sesame production, estimated at 1361 tonnes, is gaining importance.

Following successive bumper harvests, the overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Only Kantora district experienced poor germination and crop production is expected to decline, especially for early millet and maize. Part of the population in this district may experience food difficulties and may be food insecure, particularly during the lean season. The situation needs to be monitored carefully.


GHANA (6 November)

Rains were below average in late August, generally widespread and average in September but well below average in October. Therefore, crop development is likely to have been affected and harvest prospects are mixed.

The food supply situation is tight in some areas. Heavy rains in July caused flooding in the south and the capital, hampering marketing activities. About 10 000 Liberian and about 2 500 Sierra Leonean refugees remain in the country.

GUINEA (6 November)

Rains were abundant countrywide in late August and remained adequate in September and October. Cumulative rainfall is generally above normal. Floods which occurred in August and September in Haute Guinée affected some 220 000 people and destroyed over 20 000 hectares of farm land. Harvest prospects are generally good, except in Nandiana prefecture following reduced precipitation in late September/early October.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory and markets are generally well supplied, except in the flooded areas and in the southeast where recurrent rebel incursions from Sierra Leone have severely affected agriculture and marketing activities. The overall nutritional situation is reported to be "quite stable" in Upper Guinea in the new camps of Boreah, Kountaya and Telikoro in the Prefectures of Albadaria and Sembakounya where refugees have been relocated from the Parrot's Beak.

The outbreak of violence in neighbouring Lofa County in Liberia has forced many Liberians to become refugees in Guinean border areas near Macenta and N'Zerekore. In addition, there are about 180 000 IDPs in the country, but with the improved security many IDPs have begun to move back to their homes.

GUINEA-BISSAU (6 November)

After reduced rains in mid-September, precipitation improved in late September, decreased somewhat in early October but remained well above average in mid-October. Rice is elongating while millet, sorghum and upland rice are being harvested. Crop prospects are generally favourable.

A joint FAO/CILSS assessment of the 2001 crop season estimated the aggregate output of cereals at 164 300 tonnes, which is 3 percent lower than the 2000 level and 8 percent above average. The food supply situation along the border with Senegal was tight due to insecurity.

LIBERIA* (6 November)

Following below average rains in early September, precipitation improved in late September and early October except in the south. Rains remained abundant in mid and late October in the north. Growing conditions are generally good allowing satisfactory rice crop development. Rice is about to be harvested and prospects are generally favourable.

Food supply difficulties persist, as domestic production has not fully recovered from several years of civil war. It is estimated that there are a total of about 70 000 Sierra Leonean refugees in Liberia, mainly in Lofa county, one of Liberia's main rice producing areas, where recent fighting has disrupted farming and displaced thousands of people. Food distributions are underway in IDPs camps but some areas remain inaccessible to relief agencies, notably in Gbarpolu County, near the Sierra Leone border.

MALI (6 November)

The rainy season is over. Rains ceased somewhat early in the north and the centre, thus reducing yield potential. Cumulative rainfall has generally been normal to above normal and up from last year. Pastures are abundant. A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission which visited the country in late October gave a provisional estimate of the aggregate output of cereals at around 2.86 million tonnes, 20 percent above 2000 level and well above average.

The overall food situation is satisfactory. Overall cereal prices started to decrease significantly in October, reflecting the good cereal prospects in 2001. The reconstitution of the National Security Stock to its optimum level of 35 000 tonnes will require the purchase of 15 000 tonnes in 2001/02.

MAURITANIA (6 November)

Above-normal precipitation were received in September, but rains ceased in October. The area planted to rainfed ("dieri") and lowland ("bas-fonds") crops is estimated to be lower than in 2000 as many farmers chose not to plant rainfed highland crops or abandoned fields following short dry spells during the months of July and August. The Senegal River did not reach flood stage until early September, which is late in the season. A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission which visited the country in mid-October estimated the aggregate output of cereals in 2001/02 at 161 800 tonnes. This is 9 percent below 2000/01 level and 4 percent above average. This decrease is due to lower irrigated and walo/recession crop production and to lower yields for rainfed crops. By contrast, production in low-lying areas is expected to increase by 23 percent from the 2000 level as all operational dams are over 70 percent full.

The food supply situation will remain tight in several areas, notably in the Senegal river valley and in the Aftout. Already 79 communes in Gorgol, Brakna, Tagant, Adrar, Trarza and Hodh El Chargui have been identified as at risk of food shortages.

NIGER (6 November)

Above-normal precipitation was received in early September, but rains decreased in mid and late September, ceasing altogether in October. A joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission in late October gave a provisional estimate of the aggregate output of cereals at around 2.8 million tonnes. This is well above the previous year's level and above average.

Following this good harvest, the food supply situation should improve significantly. Prices of cereals decreased significantly in September and October. Farmers should be able to reconstitute their stocks as well as the government the national security stock to its optimum level of 35 000 tonnes.

NIGERIA (6 November)

The rainy season is over in the north and drawing to a close in the south. Harvest prospects are mixed.

The food supply situation is tight in several areas. Up to 550 000 people are currently displaced in the Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states, in central region, as a result of recent clashes and attacks launched against several communities by the army. Large numbers of displaced persons are staying in ten camps, notably around the Benue State capital, Makurdi, where they joined others who had fled earlier fighting in June in nearby Nasarawa State. Conflict in the region, which is one of Nigeria's major food producing areas, is likely to undermine the country's food security. Zaki-Biam, a rural town of 50 000 people, which bore the main brunt of recent fighting is reputed to be the biggest yam market in Nigeria.

SENEGAL (6 November)

The rainy season is over. Following well above-average rains in early and mid-September, precipitation decreased in late September. Good rains were still registered in the south in mid-October but they ceased in late October. Following a joint FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Mission which visited the country in mid-October, national services estimated from the annual production survey the aggregate output of cereals at around 1.1 million tonnes. This is 4 percent above the 2000 level and 18 percent above average.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. Markets are well supplied and prices of millet and sorghum have decreased following the arrival of fresh products on the market.

SIERRA LEONE* (6 November)

Following somewhat reduced precipitation in early to mid-September, rains increased in late September and remained abundant and above average during the entire month of October. Rice production is expected to be above last year's level reflecting increased plantings by returning farmers and improved conditions for distribution of inputs.

The security situation is reported to be calm. Disarmament and demobilization activities continue in Bo district. The food supply situation remains tight. About 400 000 IDPs and returnees are in various camps but mostly in the main towns and in Tonkili and Port Loko districts. The improvement of the security situation facilitated access to vulnerable populations. WFP planned to distribute more than 50 000 tonnes of food to an estimated 544 000 people during 2001. NGOs planned also to distribute around 37 000 tonnes in the same period. The country continues to rely heavily on international food assistance

TOGO (6 November)

Following well below-average rains in August, precipitation improved in September. Rains decreased significantly in early October and ceased in late October except in the extreme south. Reflecting these erratic rains, harvest prospects are mixed.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory.

CENTRAL AFRICA

CAMEROON (6 November)

Rains ceased in early October in the north. Precipitation was adequate in mid-October in the centre and south but was well below average in the centre in late October. Coarse grains have been harvested in the north and a good output is anticipated. The maize crop is developing satisfactorily in the south.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory Cereal imports during the 2001 marketing year are estimated at 300 000 tonnes, mostly wheat and rice.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (6 November)

Precipitation remained generally widespread and regular up to mid-October. In late October, rains ceased in the north but remained above normal in the south.

The food supply situation remains satisfactory. However, civil disturbances in the capital, Bangui, in early November may have affected marketing activities. The cereal import requirement for the 2001 marketing year is estimated at 33 000 tonnes, mainly wheat.

CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF* (5 November)

Civil strife intensified in eastern parts during the past month. Planting of the 2002 A season crops is underway in the Kivu region but insecurity is hindering farming activities. Serious insecurity incidents have been reported in the Plains of Ruzizi and Uvira in South Kivu province. Systematic looting by armed groups is reported in Kalonge, while movements of troops to Bunyakiri, Hombo and Nyabibwe have resulted in new population displacements. Insecurity is also hampering distribution of humanitarian assistance.

Elsewhere in the country, insecurity has also hindered distribution of food assistance in the southeastern province of Katanga, where the food supply situation is reported to be extremely serious. WFP is currently airlifting food to the districts of Nyunzu, Manono, Kabalo, Kongolo, Kiambi and Mulongo. There is particular concern for the food situation in Kiambi, where WFP reports malnutrition rates among the highest in DRC at 32 percent, and mortality rates among children under five years are also very high. While food aid in the pipeline is adequate for emergency operations, additional assistance is needed for funding transport of humanitarian workers to the worst affected areas.

The food situation in large cities in the west is also critical, particularly in Kinshasa and surrounding areas. In general, all the economic activities of the country have been affected by the conflict and it is estimated that more than one-third of the population, or 16 million people, have critical food needs. A recent study by the Ministry of Agriculture indicates that as a result of the political and economic crisis, agricultural production in the country has declined by 2.8 percent annually in the last four years, with production of maize decreasing 13 percent. On average, the caloric deficit of the population is estimated at 20.3 percent.

CONGO, REP OF* (6 November)

he overall food supply situation has improved. All areas are now accessible to humanitarian agencies. Most persons displaced by the civil war have returned to their homes. There are about 100 000 refugees from the Equator Province of DRC in northern areas, notably in Betou, near the border with the Central African Republic. There are also refugees from Angola, Burundi and Rwanda. A WFP relief and recovery operation is underway for population groups affected by the conflict and will provide 134 000 tonnes of food products over the period 2001/02. Food assistance is also provided to some 120 000 persons in Brazzaville, Pointe Noire and other main towns.

EQUATORIAL GUINEA (6 November)

Following below-normal rains in September and early October, rains increased in mid-October and became abundant in late October. The staple crops are sweet potatoes, cassava and plantains. The cereal import requirement for the 2001 marketing year is estimated at 10 000 tonnes of rice and wheat.

GABON (6 November)

The main food crops are cassava and plantains but some maize is also produced (around 32 000 tonnes). The country imports commercially the bulk of its cereal requirement, estimated at around 87 000 tonnes in 2001.

EASTERN AFRICA

BURUNDI* (5 November)

Normal to above-normal rainfall in September and October, particularly in northern parts, favoured planting of the 2002 A season crops, to be harvested from January, and benefited earlier planted crops. Future prospects for peace are also good, following the formation of a new power-sharing Government on 1 November.

The outcome of the 2001 B season foodcrops season was satisfactory. Aggregate food production increased by 10 percent from the level of the previous year. Cereal output was 10 percent higher than in 2000 B season, while pulses increased by 24 percent. The outcome reflects generally good rains, improved security conditions at planting and timely distribution of seeds by international agencies. The output of the 2001 A season, harvested early in the year, was also good.

The overall food supply situation has improved with the increase in food production in 2001. However, the food and nutritional situation of 432 000 internally displaced and other vulnerable population remains critical. Emergency food aid will still be required for these populations until the next harvest.

ERITREA* (6 November)

Harvesting of the 2001 cereal and pulse crops is about to start. Prospects for a good cereal crop in 2001 were somewhat dampened following below normal rains in September which are important for crops at flowering and seed setting stages. Field assessments for the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) during September indicate lower expected production than the preliminary crop estimates given by the Ministry of Agriculture in early August. However, the revised cereal production estimate, put at 203 000 tonnes, is still about 3 times more than last year's well below average crop.

The overall food situation remains tight following population displacement by the war with Ethiopia and drought last year. Last year's cereal crop was sharply reduced due mainly to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of farmers from the agriculturally rich regions of Gash Barka and Debub, which account for more than 70 percent of cereal production. The total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has declined from 70 000 to about 58 000 in September.

Two Emergency Operations were jointly approved in April and May 2001 by FAO and WFP for food assistance to about 1.8 million people affected by war and drought, worth a total sum of US$77 million for a period of 10 months (May 2001 to February 2002). The balance of WFP food stocks as of end-September stood at 66 000 tonnes which is expected to meet emergency food requirements until the end of the first quarter or mid-2002. Although the number of IDPs in camps is gradually declining, further food assistance is required as more refugees are returning from Sudan.

ETHIOPIA* (6 November)

Harvesting of the 2001 main "Meher" cereal crop is about to start. Overall prospects are favourable reflecting abundant rains during the growing season in major producing areas. The 2001 secondary "Belg" crop, normally harvested from June, was also good and a substantial recovery from last year's poor harvest. Although Belg production accounts for only 8 to 10 percent of total cereal production, it is important in several areas where it provides the bulk of annual food supplies.

By contrast, below-normal rains in the pastoral areas of southern and eastern Ethiopia continue to undermine any recovery from the devastating drought in the last three years. Poor rainfall in parts of Gode, Liban, Werder and Afder Zones, sites of last year's severe food shortages, is particularly worrying. Recent rains in parts may have eased some of the water shortages but continued and widespread rains are needed to improve pastures.

The overall food supply situation in the country is stable as a result of last year's bumper main "meher" season grain production and this year's good secondary "belg" season harvest. However, the sharp decline in grain prices in main producing areas has severely affected household income in rural areas. The Government and donors have made some attempt to support local markets through purchases of grain.

An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission is in the country since mid-November to assess the "Meher" production and estimate food assistance requirements in 2002.

KENYA (6 November)

Harvesting of the 2001 main "long rains" cereal crops is complete in the main growing areas of the Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza Provinces. The main rainy season (March-May), which normally accounts for 80 percent of total annual food production, has largely been favourable resulting in improved food supply in most parts of the country. Preliminary official estimates indicate a maize output of about 2.31 million tonnes for the season, an increase of about 20 percent over the reduced harvest last year. With forecast of normal secondary season rains, the 2001/02 aggregate maize output is forecast at 2.7 million tonnes, well above average.

Following the good cereal harvest and adequate stock levels, prices of maize, the staple crop, have declined considerably prompting the Government to appeal to donors to increase local purchases to support the producers.

However, despite the improvement in the overall food supply situation, pastoralists in northern and eastern parts of the country continue to face serious food supply difficulties. Water and pasture conditions remain poor and with below-normal rainfall forecast in the September to December season the situation is anticipated to deteriorate further. This has already led to long distance trekking in search of grazing which in turn has increased the likelihood of large-scale livestock mortality.

In September 2001 WFP distributed food aid to about 1.56 million people in 13 pastoral and agro-pastoral districts.

RWANDA (5 November)

Heavy rains in September resulted in localized floods in the Gisenyi, Gitarama and Gikongoro Provinces, causing loss of life, housing and infrastructure damage, and crop losses. Worst affected are the districts of Kabagali and Mushubi where losses of banana and roots and tubers are high and soil erosion considerable. Overall however, abundant rains in the past two months favoured planting of the 2002 season A foodcrops and benefited crop establishment. Availability of seed of cereals and pulses - the main crop of the season - and cuttings of sweet potatoes was timely and their prices were stable. Crops are reported in good condition and early prospects for the harvest from January are favourable.

Food production in the 2001 B season was estimated at 2.7 million tonnes, reflecting higher plantings and favourable weather conditions. Although this is 10 percent less than in the same season last year, in cereal-equivalent the output is 9 percent higher. Import requirements in the second half of the year have decreased, compared to the same period last year, to 143 000 tonnes of cereal-equivalent, which is expected to be fully covered by commercial imports.

The overall food supply position is satisfactory following the increased aggregate 2001 food production. Prices of staple crops remain stable or are decreasing as a result of the good domestic and cross-border supply to markets. In particular, food supply in areas previously affected by a succession of droughts has improved.

 

SOMALIA* (12 November)

The food situation in Somalia is rapidly deteriorating following the drought-reduced 2001 main "Gu" season harvest, the lowest in the last seven years. Recent heavy rains in neighbouring Ethiopian highlands have caused an overflow of rivers in parts of southern Somalia displacing a large number of people thus aggravating the already serious food supply situation.

More than a decade of civil strife has left Somalia impoverished and mired in an extended humanitarian crisis. Basic infrastructure and Government services, including the ability to deliver the most basic health, education, and other social services, have collapsed. A recovery in food production in the previous two cropping seasons had eased to some extent the food supply difficulties. However, the current poor harvest has offset the temporary respite due to weakened coping mechanisms by a succession of droughts earlier and the long-term effects of years of insecurity. Furthermore, the continuing ban on livestock imports from eastern Africa by countries along the Arabian Peninsula due to Rift Valley fever is causing substantial loss of income, particularly in northern Somalia. The ban imposed in September 2000 is estimated to have cost the country hard currency earnings estimated at US$120 million.

Reflecting a grim food outlook, cereal prices are expected to rise, seriously eroding the purchasing power of a large section of the population. Moreover, the value of the Somali/Somaliland shilling has fallen dramatically. Between August 2000 and August 2001, the value of the Somali shilling in Mogadishu dropped from Ssh 9 500 to Ssh 20 500 for one US dollar, a depreciation of nearly 116 percent, while the value of the Somaliland shilling in Hargeysa fell from SLsh 3 000 to SLsh 6 000 to a US dollar - a fall of 100 percent.

As a result of the global economic downturn, remittances which normally contribute up to an estimated US$500 million to the economy per year compared to about US$60 million from foreign aid, are expected to dwindle significantly. Access to food for large numbers of households who depend on remittances is expected to be affected seriously.

In view of the rapidly deteriorating food supply situation, rural people are leaving their villages, many with their livestock in search of food and water, moving into urban areas and crowding around feeding centres where assistance is being provided by the international community. Recent reports indicate that some 800 000 people have been affected and will require 70 000 tonnes of emergency food assistance until the next "Gu" season harvest in August 2002. Of particular concern are some 300 000 vulnerable people threatened by starvation, particularly in Gedo Region in south-eastern Somalia, as well as in Hiran, Bay and Bakool. Despite recent rainfall that enabled some plantings, prospects for the "Deyr" secondary season, which runs from October to February, are uncertain, due to the delayed onset of rains.

The Somalia Aid Co-ordination Body (SACB) - which groups United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and donor partners - has appealed for urgent food assistance to the affected population. Non-food assistance, such as water and medical supplies, is also required for thousands of children who are at the risk of disease and malnutrition. Earlier in the year a UN Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeal was launched for US$130 million, to support livelihoods and assist the country's recovery. The international donor community is urged to make urgent pledges and contributions, failing which there is increased likelihood of large-scale starvation in the most affected areas.

SUDAN* (6 November)

A recent FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to southern Sudan indicated a generally improved food supply situation compared to last year but estimated an overall deficit in cereal production. Heavy rains in August caused localized flooding and water-logging in low-lying areas, particularly in the east. However the overall advantages of the rainfall, to date, are noted to outweigh the disadvantages.

Despite the improved food supply situation, pockets of food insecurity remain and food assistance requirements will be greater as the fragmentation of the regions and absence of normal trade routes exclude easy movement of grain or cassava flour from surplus to deficit areas.

In central and northern Sudan, harvesting of the 2001 main season cereal crops has just started. Despite the extensive floods that displaced large numbers of people and destroyed crops, overall harvest prospects have improved with some good rains and increased cereal production in the irrigated schemes. An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission is in the country since mid-November to assess the 2001 main season cereal production and estimate overall commercial imports/exports and food aid requirements in 2002.

TANZANIA (6 November)

Planting of the 2002 main season cereal crops in the unimodal central and southern areas, as well as that of 2001/02 short season ("Vuli" ) crops in bi-modal northern areas, is underway. With normal to above normal rainfall predicted for the period September to December in most parts of the country, prospects are generally favourable.

The 2001 cereal crop, mainly maize, is estimated at about 4 million tonnes, 14 percent above last year's crop but slightly below the previous five years average. The Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) has purchased about 56 percent of the target purchase of 25 000 tonnes for the marketing year 2001/02 (June/May) bringing total stocks to 59 000 tonnes. These stocks represent about 84 percent of the total planned reserves of 70 000 tonnes.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory with stable or declining cereal prices in central, east, lake and northern Tanzania. However, sharp price increases were observed in southern highlands and southern coast areas due partly to the increased cereal demand from neighbouring countries like Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi, which saw major deficits due to adverse weather or insecurity. Furthermore, some 12 districts in northern and central Tanzania, mainly in the regions of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Morogoro, Shinyanga and Singida, are reported to face varying degrees of food insecurity.

UGANDA (6 November)

Widespread and abundant rains in September and October benefited developing food crops of the 2001 second season. Prospects for the harvest early next year are favourable. The rains in the past months have also improved pasture conditions and water availability for the livestock in pastoral districts of Kotido and Moroto.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory. However, the situation remains precarious in Katakwi District mainly due to insecurity and loss of cattle to raids. Food assistance also continues to be needed for nearly 112 000 people in Bundibugyo District, in the west, displaced by civil unrest.

SOUTHERN AFRICA

ANGOLA* (5 November)

Below-average precipitation during October, particularly in central parts, has delayed planting of 2002 maize and stressed earlier sown crops. Better rains are needed to avoid reductions in plantings and yields of maize and for the sowing of the millet and sorghum crops in southern parts. Agricultural activities are also hindered by renewed fighting in most of the provinces, mainly in the unstable areas of Bié, northeastern parts of Huila, Moxico, Malange, Huambo and Uige, and the resulting displacement of rural people from their farms. The flare up of military activity has also further limited the distribution of humanitarian assistance outside the provincial capitals.

Aggregate cereal production in 2001 rose by 5 percent from the previous year to 535 000 tonnes due to an increase in the area sown and generally favourable weather. However, despite the improvement in domestic production, the food supply situation remains difficult for 2.7 million IDPs and other vulnerable sections of the population. An FAO/WFP Mission in May 2001 estimated that about 1.34 million people were still in need of emergency food aid.

The cereal import requirement in the 2001/02 marketing year (April/March) is estimated at 581 000 tonnes of cereals, including 176 000 tonnes of food aid. Due to resource constraints, WFP is not reaching all the target beneficiaries and has frequently reduced food rations. The currently assisted population amounts to 820 000 beneficiaries. WFP estimates that there will be a critical shortfall of sugar in December and that maize and pulses will be exhausted by February 2002. There is also a shortfall in the funding of transport logistics and non-food items. This funding is crucial for the transport of seeds and tools to support food production during the current cropping season.

BOTSWANA (5 November)

Abundant rains in western crop growing areas in the second and third dekads of October improved soil conditions for planting of the 2002 maize and sorghum crops about to start. The rains also improved pasture and livestock conditions throughout the country.

Production of cereals in 2001, mainly sorghum, is estimated at 10 000 tonnes, only half of last year's crop and well below average, as a result of a mid-season dry spell. However, even in normal years, the country imports the bulk of its cereal consumption requirements. Import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (April/March) are estimated at 263 000 tonnes, including 197 000 tonnes of coarse grains and 66 000 tonnes of wheat. While these requirements are expected to be covered on commercial basis, food difficulties are anticipated at household level in areas affected by crop loss.

LESOTHO (5 November)

Above-average rains in the second and third dekads of October improved soil moisture for planting of the 2002 maize and sorghum crops, currently underway. The early outlook is promising. The 2001 cereal harvest was poor due to unfavourable weather conditions. The output was estimated by an FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission at 80 000 tonnes, 47 percent lower than in the previous year and 60 percent below the average of the past five years. The cereal import requirement has increased sharply to 332 000 tonnes of cereals, mostly maize. While most of this requirement is expected to be covered on commercial basis, assistance is needed in the worst affected districts of Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka, Mohale's Hoek and Quthing, where farmers lost their crops and a significant number do not have adequate means to access food.

 

MADAGASCAR (1 November)

Planting of the 2002 paddy and coarse grain crops has started. Normal rains in October benefited land preparation for sowing. However, the outlook is uncertain reflecting an expected decline in the area planted in response to a sharp decline in domestic prices.

The 2001 paddy output is estimated 10 to 15 percent higher than in the previous year at around 2.6 million tonnes, the highest in ten years. This is the result of generally favourable growing conditions and the absence of locusts during the growing season. The bumper crop, coupled with large carry-over stocks, have resulted in a decrease of 50 percent in the price of paddy from its level prior to the harvest.

The overall food supply situation in the 2001/02 marketing year (April/March) is anticipated to remain satisfactory, including in the drought-prone southern areas. Prices of food staples, rice, maize, cassava and Irish potato, declined in July in southern areas and the number of people in need of food assistance has declined to 117 150. Food aid requirements for these areas are estimated at 3 163 tonnes of maize.

MALAWI (5 November)

Planting of the 2002 cereal crops, to be harvested from April next year, is well advanced. Normal rains in October, which were above average in northern and southern parts, favoured sowing operations and benefited earlier planted crops. The Government's programme of free inputs to vulnerable farmers is underway in southern parts. One million households are expected to receive agricultural inputs under the programme.

Reflecting widespread excessive rains during the growing season, the 2001 cereal production was sharply reduced. The maize crops was estimated at 1.7 million tonnes, 32 percent below the bumper crops of the previous two years, when an export surplus was available. As a result, the food supply situation is extremely tight. Official stocks, which were low at the beginning of the 2001/02 marketing year (April/March) have been depleted. Prices of maize in local markets have increased some 400 percent from theirs levels of a year ago. By October, a kilogram of maize was quoted at 18 Kawacha, against 2 to 5 Kawacha at the same time last year. Food shortages are being experienced in localized parts, particularly in the southern districts worst affected by floods. The Government has made arrangements to import 150 000 tonnes of maize from South Africa, but only 10 000 tonnes had arrived in the country by mid-October. However, most of these imports will be sold on the open market where prices have increased beyond the reach of large sections of the population. The Government is considering free distribution of maize to the most vulnerable people. Emergency food assistance distributed by WFP to 208 500 people worst affected by the floods until October, will be extended for further two months until the end of December in view of the serious food supply situation.

MOZAMBIQUE (6 November)

Planting of the 2002 cereal crops, to be harvested from April next year, has just started. Generally normal rains during October, which were above average in southern parts, favoured land preparation and early planting of crops.

The 2001 cereal production increased by 7 percent on last year's level mainly due to higher plantings. Despite severe floods in central provinces and dry weather in southern provinces, abundant rains in the main growing areas of the north benefited the maize crop, estimated 12 percent up at 1.14 million tonnes. At this level of production, the country will have an exportable surplus of 100 000 tonnes of maize in marketing year 2001/02 (April/March).

However, real prices of maize are well above their levels of a year ago, particularly in the Beira, Tete and Nampula provinces. In Tete, prices by the end of September were over 200 percent higher than a year ago in real terms. This reflects strong demand from neighbouring Malawi where production decreased significantly. In the capital Maputo, maize prices are about one-third higher. Prices of other food staples such as rice and beans have also increased markedly during October.

Despite a satisfactory food supply situation at national level, the increased prices are restricting access to food for the most vulnerable sections of the population. There have been reports of food shortages in the southern provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane. Recent assessments undertaken by the Government and international agencies in the country indicate that 80 000 to 100 000 most vulnerable people are in need of emergency food aid until the next harvest.

NAMIBIA (6 November)

Harvesting of the 2001 irrigated wheat crop is well advanced. An average output of 5 000 tonnes is anticipated. The aggregate cereal output is estimated one-quarter lower than in the previous year at 106 000 tonnes. Production was affected by dry weather followed by excessive rains. As a result, the overall food supply situation in marketing year 2001/02 is tight. Imports of cereals are expected to rise sharply up at 125 000 tonnes (50 000 tonnes of wheat and 75 000 tonnes of maize). While most of this requirement is expected to be covered commercially, food supply difficulties are reported in communities where the harvest was poor and for vulnerable people in urban areas without adequate purchasing power.

Planting of the 2002 coarse grain crops is scheduled from next month.

SOUTH AFRICA (6 November)

Planting of the 2002 maize crop is underway in the main maize growing areas of the east. Below average rains in the first dekad of October were followed by abundant precipitation in the second and third dekads. The above-average rains provided good soil moisture for planting the 2002 maize crop and benefited earlier sowed crops. Planting prospects are favourable reflecting also expectations of a 6 percent rise in the area planted to 2.878 million hectares. This is in response to increasing prices of maize due to this year's reduced harvest and higher exports to neighbouring countries. The 2001 maize output was estimated at 7.5 million tonnes, a substantial decline from the previous year's good output of 10.6 million tonnes, due to a decrease of 17 percent in the area planted and a prolonged mid-season dry spell that reduced yields.

Harvesting of the 2001 wheat crop is advanced. Production forecasts have been revised upwards to 2.3 million tonnes. At this level, the output is 4 percent higher than the average of the past five years. The outcome reflects an increase of 4 percent in the area planted and adequate irrigation water supplies.

SWAZILAND (6 November)

Dry weather in the first dekad of October was followed by normal to above normal precipitation in the remainder of the month, which provided adequate soil moisture for planting of the 2002 cereal crops, mainly maize.

Cereal production in 2001 was estimated at 77 000 tonnes, close to last year's poor harvest, but some 33 percent below the previous five year average, due mainly to a mid-season dry spell and a heat wave. As a result, the food supply situation is expected to remain tight until the end of the 2001/02 marketing year (April/March). The import requirement is estimated at 123 000 tonnes, and is expected to be covered entirely by commercial imports. However, food assistance may be needed by the most affected households, particularly in the Middle and Lowerveld provinces.

ZAMBIA (5 November)

Planting of the 2002 maize crop, to be harvested from April next year, is underway. Above-average rains in October, particularly in southern areas, benefited sowing operations and earlier planted crops. Availability of seeds and fertilizers for the new season is reported to be adequate to meet requirements.

Harvesting of the 2001 irrigated wheat crop is well advanced. The output is forecast at 75 000 tonnes, 17 percent lower than the previous year's level.

The 2001 maize harvest was sharply reduced by excessive rains, coupled with dry weather in southern parts. A final official production estimate has not been released. FAO's preliminary estimates point to a maize crop of 950 000 tonnes, some 28 percent lower than last year. At this level, and taking into account available stocks, there is an estimated deficit of 300 000 tonnes of maize in marketing year 2001/02 (May/April) to be covered through commercial imports and food aid. The Government's Food Reserve Agency has announced tenders for purchase of 150 000 tonnes of maize from South Africa, to be supplied from November 2001 to March 2002. It has also announced a ban on maize exports.

Following reports of emerging food shortages in parts, the Government launched an appeal to the international community in mid-July for 98 000 tonnes of food aid to assist 2 million people in the 42 districts out of the 73 in the country, that had been declared to be in a state of emergency. It has also started distribution of maize in eastern parts of the country. WFP plans to distribute about 42 000 tonnes of food aid to 1.28 million most affected people in 23 districts.

ZIMBABWE* (5 November)

Generally normal rains in October, which were above average in eastern parts, allowed land preparation for planting of the 2002 cereal crops and improved pastures for livestock.

Harvesting of the 2001 irrigated wheat crop is well advanced. Preliminary estimates point to a crop of 275 000 tonnes, some 10 percent higher than last year's reduced crop but still below the average of the past five years. The higher production mainly reflects a rise of 14 percent in the area planted. At the estimated production level, the import requirement of wheat until the next harvest in October 2002 is projected at 80 000 tonnes.

The 2001 coarse grains harvest was sharply reduced. The maize crop, accounting for over 90 percent of the total cereal production, was estimated at 1.5 million tonnes, 28 below last year's level and well below average. This decrease mainly reflected a decline of 54 percent in the area planted on the large-scale commercial farms, due to disruption by land acquisitions activities. In the communal areas, plantings were affected by payment delays by the Grain Marketing Board, while yields were negatively affected by a severe mid-season dry spell followed by excessive rains, particularly in southern areas.

As a result of the sharp decline in production and severe shortage of foreign exchange, the food supply situation is increasingly tight. The Grain Marketing Board has announced tenders to import 150 000 tonnes of maize. Prices of basic food staples, which had increased more than 300 percent from June to August, stabilized or declined after the Government ordered on 12 October price cuts of 5 to 20 percent for maize meal - the basic staple - and bread, meat, vegetables, milk, cooking oil and salt. However, many of the products were unavailable on the markets in the second half of the month. The food supply position is particularly critical in areas where farmers gathered a poor harvest and localized food shortages have been reported. A recent WFP food needs assessment estimated that 706 000 people are in need of assistance in some districts of Midlands, Matebeleland North, Matebeleland South, Masvingo, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and Manicaland Provinces. WFP plans to distribute food aid to over 500 000 people from December.

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.

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.

CENTRAL AMERICA (including the Caribbean)

BELIZE (4 November)

Hurricane ‘Iris’ hit the southern part of the country in early October, with sustained winds of up to 145mph that destroyed agricultural crops, fishing equipment and tourism and housing infrastructure. Up to 90 percent of the banana crop of southern Belize was flattened by the category 4 hurricane winds, which also destroyed maize, paddy, citrus and cacao crops. The Government has appealed for international assistance, and the international community is providing emergency relief to the affected population.

COSTA RICA (4 November)

Harvesting of first season crops is underway and planting of second season crops has started in various parts of the country. The first season crop was affected by a dry spell in its early stages of growth, and the second season crop is developing normally. Maize production in 2001 is forecast at 17 000 tonnes, slightly lower than last year and about 32 percent lower than the average level of the last five years. Harvesting of first season and planting of second season paddy crops is underway, and an abundant crop, similar to the one obtained last year, is anticipated.

Import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are forecast at 35 000 tonnes of white maize and 525 000 tonnes of yellow maize. CNP (National Board of Production) estimates that Costa Rica may not need to import rice in marketing year 2002 (Jan/Dec).

CUBA (1 November)

The agricultural sector is recovering from last year’s severe drought. Moderate rains in July and August, and above-average rains in September and October have favoured the development of first season coarse grain and sugar cane crops. Maize production is forecast to increase by 15 percent from last year’s drought affected crop. It is reported that water reservoirs levels in October have significantly improved from last year. The outlook is favourable for the important irrigated spring/summer paddy crop planted from April to June and to be harvested from November. A category 4 hurricane (‘Michelle’) hit the Isla de la Juventud, La Habana and Matanzas on 4 November. As a precaution the Government had evacuated half a million people from the areas at risk. The hurricane damaged maturing sugar cane, citrus, maize and paddy crops and WFP is collaborating with the government in assisting 30 000 people for three months.

Wheat import requirements for marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are forecast at 950 000 tonnes, while rice imports in marketing year 2001 (Jan./Dec.) are expected to reach 440 000 tonnes.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (1 November)

f Harvesting of coarse grain crops is underway and expected to continue until early next year. Aggregate cereal production in 2001 is forecast to increase slightly from last year following increased plantings and favourable weather conditions. A bumper paddy crop of approximately 600 000 tonnes is forecast for 2001, representing a 4 percent increase from the good level of last year. A slight increase in the production of plantain and beans, important food crops for the Dominicans, is also reported.

Wheat import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are estimated at 320 000 tonnes, while yellow maize import requirements (used as feed) are unchanged from last year at some 700 000 tonnes.

EL SALVADOR (1 November)

Harvesting of first season crops is completed and planting of second season crops is well advanced. The output of first season crops is estimated to be 18 percent lower than average due to the drought. The area planted to second season crops is anticipated to be higher than last year, and prospects are favourable following adequate weather conditions for crop development. The output of white maize in 2001 is currently forecast to be similar to last year’s below average level.

Wheat import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are unchanged from last year at around 190 000 tonnes. Although the food situation in rural areas is improving, the WFP estimates that some 50 000 people are in need of food assistance until December. Meanwhile, the Government, civil society organizations and the international community are collaborating on the recovery of the country from the damaging effects of earthquakes in January and February and a dry spell that damaged first season crops in their early stages of growth.

GUATEMALA (1 November)

Rains in June were 60 percent lower than normal and some 8 percent of the area planted to first season maize and bean crops was lost in central and eastern departments of the country. About 12 000 subsistence farms reportedly suffered at least 80 percent losses of first season crops and are being assisted with food aid. Although the arrival of first season crops on the market has stabilized food prices, an increase in the demand for maize and beans from neighbouring El Salvador and Costa Rica could result in price increases before the end of the year. Planting of second season crops is complete and the crop looks in good conditions following above-average rains in September and October. The National Farmers’ Union (UNC) forecasts an abundant crop of beans following increased plantings.

The closing of commercial coffee plantations due to the low international coffee prices has limited the coping mechanisms of drought affected farmers. ANACAFE (Coffee National Association) estimates that 100 000 jobs were lost so far this year, compromising the food security of some 600 000 people. The Ministry of Agriculture also reported that a further 43 000 jobs are presently at risk. Traditionally, coffee has been a major export commodity and foreign exchange earner, but due to the combined effects of low international prices and the fall in production, ANACAFE estimates that export revenues this year will be just over US$200 million compared to US$570 million last year.

HAITI* (1 November)

A good first season crop was obtained following abundant rains during the wet season, and prospects are favourable for the irrigated second season paddy crop, planted in September and due to be harvested from December. The food situation is stabilizing from last year’s drought that damaged staple crops in southern and northern provinces of the country. Nevertheless, assistance from the government, local NGOs and the international community continues to be provided to vulnerable groups, mainly in the poorest provinces of Nord and Nord-Est. Food pledges amount to 100 000 tonnes.

HONDURAS (6 November)

Following the mid-season dry spell (canícula), the wet season has resumed with normal to abundant rains throughout the country, and prospects are favourable for the important second season (apante) crops planted in September and due to be harvested from mid-November. A dry spell in June adversely affected first season crops during the early stages of development. Some 26 000 farmers living in central and southern areas of the country lost an estimated 40 000 hectares of maize, 20 000 hectares of sorghum and 8 000 hectares of beans. A tight food situation is forecast to continue until December for the affected population.

The Government requested assistance from the international community after tropical storm ‘Michelle’ caused localized floods in the Caribbean coast of Honduras and forced the evacuation of 22 000 people at the end of October. Much of the land occupied by ‘Misquito’ Indians is inaccessible by road and there is concern about the food security of an estimated 35 000 people. No assessment of the damages to the agricultural sector is yet available.

There is also concern about the effects of the coffee crisis on the food security of the poor rural population. Jobs are being lost and salaries are being lowered following low international coffee prices and low yields. Last year temporary employment during coffee harvesting (November-April) provided an estimated 400 000 people with US$ 3.5 per day to purchase food for their families. However, an estimated 50 000 jobs have been lost so far this year and the salaries have dropped to US$ 2 per day.

MEXICO (2 November)

Harvesting of the important 2001 rain-fed summer maize crops is underway and is due to continue until January. Crop development was constrained in the early stages of growth by lower than average rains, but more recently hurricanes ‘Chantal’, ‘Juliette’ and ‘Iris’ in August, September and October have relieved some of the water deficit and improved the outlook for harvests. Provided favourable weather conditions continue, maize production in 2001 is forecast at 20 million tonnes, some 11 percent higher than the average of the last five years. Sorghum production, mainly for feed, is forecast at 6.1 million tonnes, similar to the average of the last five years. The outlook is favourable for rain-fed bean crops, cultivated by an estimated half a million subsistence and small scale commercial farmers.

Cereal import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are estimated at 3 million tonnes of wheat, 5.6 million tonnes of maize and 5 million tonnes of sorghum. Rice import in marketing year 2001 (Jan/Dec) are estimated at 350 000 tonnes.

NICARAGUA (2 November)

Harvesting of first season crops was completed in September. First season crops planted in western parts of Nicaragua were affected by drought during their early stages of growth, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAGFOR) estimates that some 50 000 farmers lost approximately 73 000 hectares of maize, beans, paddy and sorghum, representing 20 percent of the total area planted to first season crops. The tight food situation of the affected families is expected to continue until November, when second season crops are due to be harvested. FAO collaborated with the Government of Nicaragua in the provision of agricultural inputs for planting 7 000 hectares of second season crops in the departments of León and Chinandega. Prospects are favourable for the estimated 160 000 hectares of crops planted in August and September following normal rains during September and October. In the Caribbean coast of the country, tropical storm ‘Michelle’ caused localized floods and damaged second season crops after four days of heavy rains. First season crops in this area were also affected by localized floods in June.

PANAMA (3 November)

Planting of second season coarse grain and paddy crops is well advanced. The water deficit due to erratic and unevenly distributed rains since June affected crop and pasture growth in the peninsula of Azuero and the province of Coclé. Plantain production was affected by drought in the western province of Chiriquí, but the Government estimates that the supply of plantains should be enough to satisfy the domestic demand at normal prices in the coming months.

SOUTH AMERICA

ARGENTINA (3 November)

The Government estimates that some 7.05 million hectares of wheat were planted this year, 9 percent more than last year. The crop, due to be harvested in the next weeks, is forecast at 17.5 million tonnes. Prospects are favourable for wheat crops due to increased plantings and favourable winter weather conditions. However, some yield losses are expected following heavy rains and moderate temperatures in September and October that are ideal conditions for fungus development. The heavy rains of spring have also delayed land preparation for the forthcoming 2002 maize crop, and planting intentions are down by 5 percent from last year.

BOLIVIA (3 November)

Planting of summer cereal crops is underway and the prospects are favourable. Water reservoir levels are increasing from spring defrosting after a particularly intense winter of heavy snowing in the highlands, where floods earlier this year damaged an estimated 40 000 hectares of crops. The departments most affected by the floods were La Paz, Cochabamba, Potosí and Chuquisaca. The food supply situation of the affected population is expected to tighten in the coming months because no crops were planted in the highlands during winter and the next harvest is not due until May. FAO is supporting the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development (MAGDR) in the provision of agricultural inputs for planting summer season crops in 1600 affected farms.

Wheat import requirements for marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are estimated at about 300 000 tonnes.

BRAZIL (3 November)

Harvesting of wheat crops has been delayed by persistent rains, but it is anticipated that the crop will reach 3 million tonnes compared to 1.6 million tonnes in year 2000. The smaller second season maize crop (safrinha) is officially estimated at 8 million tonnes, compared to 4 million tonnes last year. Aggregate cereal production in the central and southern States of Brazil during 2001 is anticipated to increase from last year following increased plantings and favourable weather conditions. Planting of the important first season maize crop is underway. According to Brazil’s National Food Supply Company (CONAB), soybeans are likely to substitute maize crops this summer due to more favourable prices of the former. As a result, the area planted to maize to first season maize in 2002 is forecast to decrease by 12 percent relative to last year. Planting intentions of paddy crops have increased by 2 percent from last year.

Brazil is forecast to import some 7 million tonnes of wheat in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) and 600 000 tonnes of rice in marketing year 2001 (Jan./Dec.).

CHILE (3 November)

An estimated 415 000 hectares of wheat have been planted this winter compared to some 400 000 last year. The crop is reported in good conditions despite the wet winter, and production is forecast to increase by 7 percent provided normal weather conditions prevail. Planting of maize is underway and the area is forecast to increase to 90 000 hectares from 82 000 hectares last year. Low paddy prices are not making production attractive to farmers and planting intentions are forecast to decrease 27 percent from an estimated 28 000 hectares last year.

Import requirements for marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are estimated at 300 000 tonnes of wheat and 1.1 million tonnes of maize (mostly yellow). Rice imports in marketing year 2001 (Jan/Dec) are anticipated at 60 000 tonnes.

COLOMBIA (3 November)

A dry spell in October favoured harvesting of first season crops, and planting of second season rain-fed crops is underway. Rains are reported normal in the Orinoco and Amazon areas, but elsewhere the dry weather conditions are not favouring crop development. Harvesting of the main paddy crop was completed in October. Paddy prices are low and the government has stopped rice imports until next year to prevent prices from falling further. A UN inter-agency mission that visited the country in August concluded that population displacement has increased. The mission observed an increase in the numbers, geographical extension and political complexities of the displacement phenomenon, and insisted on the need for protection and humanitarian assistance of the affected populations.

Import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are forecast at 1.3 million tonnes of wheat and 2.2 million tonnes of maize.

ECUADOR (3 November)

Harvesting of the small 2001 second season coarse grain crop was complete in September and planting of the main 2002 coarse grain crop is underway. Winter rains, some 30 percent lower than normal, affected the development of 2001 second season crops in the Andean provinces of Pichincha, Tungurahua, Azuay and Chimborazo, and yields were about 20 percent lower than the average level obtained last year. In the Ecuadorian Amazon, one of the poorest areas in South America, localized floods caused by intensive rains during June totally destroyed maturing coarse grain crops of some 2200 subsistence farms. The food situation of the affected farms is expected to tighten in the next months because the next crop will not be harvested until April 2002. In August, ashes from the Tungurahua volcano forced the evacuation of approximately 20 000 people from their homes, killed some 6 000 cattle, and damaged about 48 000 hectares of pasture and crop land in the provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo. The international community is providing food assistance to the affected population.

Import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are estimated at 450 000 tonnes of wheat and 200 000 tonnes of maize.

PERU (3 November)

Planting of the first and most important season crop has started under normal spring weather conditions and is due to continue until December. The 2001 agricultural campaign is coming to a close and aggregate cereal production is forecast to increase 5 percent from last year. In the north of the country, water reservoir levels in Piura and Lambayeque are adequate for the 2002 irrigated paddy crops already being planted. In southern Peru, in the department of Puno, yields were below-average after crops were damaged by drought and heavy rains. In the departments of Arequipa, Moquegua, Tacna and Ayacucho, rural areas were hit by a strong earthquake and a tsunami wave on 23 June 2001 that damaged the irrigation system of approximately 116 000 hectares of 60 000 farmers, 2000 hectares of coastal crops and the fishing equipment of 1000 small fisher folks.

Import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are estimated at 1.3 million tonnes of wheat and 1 million tonnes of maize (mostly yellow).

URUGUAY (5 November)

An estimated 150 000 hectares of wheat and 115 000 hectares of barley have been planted this winter, representing an increase of 22 and 27 percent respectively from last year. Both crops developed normally during winter due to cold and rainy weather, but heavy rains in October and moderate temperatures have more recently favoured crop diseases. The heavy rains have also delayed land preparation for the forthcoming 2002 summer crops, although prospects are favourable due to the accumulated water in the soils. The area planted to paddy is forecast to decrease 7 percent from the 190 000 hectares planted last year.

VENEZUELA (5 November)

Harvesting of white maize started in July and is expected to continue until early next year. Last year white maize production increased substantially and the government was forced to intervene to sustain producer prices. This year production is forecast to remain at last year’s high level of 1.3 million tonnes. Maize prices in September were falling but the Government has since September suspended imports to allow the surplus grain to be absorbed by the industry at sustained prices for the producers.

Import requirements in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are expected to be around 1.3 million tonnes of wheat and 1.1 million tonnes of maize.

EUROPE

EC (19 November)

FAO's latest forecast puts aggregate 2001 cereal production in the EC at about 203 million tonnes, 6 percent down from last year and about 3 percent below the average of the past five years. The decrease results from the combined effect of an overall smaller cereal area and lower average yields for this year’s crop. Most of the decrease in production is accounted for by wheat, which is now forecast at 91.5 million tonnes, 13 percent below last years bumper crop and about 9 percent below the average of the past five year’s. The forecast for aggregate coarse grain production remains at about 109 million tonnes, which would be virtually unchanged from the 2000 output. Production of maize and rye is seen to increase while that of barley and oats is estimated to be down. Autumn conditions have been generally favourable for winter crop sowing throughout the Community and indications so far don’t suggest any major change in overall area compared to the previous year.

ALBANIA (19 November)

Aggregate cereal production could be slightly up for the second year in succession reflecting improved weather conditions after drought affected crops in the previous two seasons. Aggregate cereal output is tentatively estimated at about 600 000 tonnes of which wheat is expected to account for about 350 000 tonnes.

BELARUS (3 November)

Grain production is estimated at about 5.2 million tonnes this year compared with 4.8 million tonnes the previous year. This year’s grain production estimates include 0.8 million tonnes of wheat, 1.7 million tonnes of barley and 1.6 million tonnes of rye. The 2001 grain production increase owes mainly to improved yields due to favourable weather conditions.

The cereal import requirement in 2001/02 marketing year is estimated at 706 000 tonnes, which is slightly below last year’s estimates. Cereal imports comprise 550 000 tonnes of wheat, 65 000 tonnes of barley, 40 000 tonnes of maize and 29 000 tonnes of rye. The source of imports are mainly the CIS countries.

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA* (5 November)

Cereal harvest in 2001 is estimated at 924 000 tonnes, which is slightly below the drought reduced level of the preceding year. The reduction is due to May floods and hail in the northern regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the adjacent areas of Republica Serbska. This year’s harvest includes 330 000 tonnes of wheat, 470 000 tonnes of maize and 54 000 tonnes of barley. Cereal import requirement in 2001/02 marketing year is estimated at 290 000 tonnes, including 100 000 tonnes of food aid requirement.

BULGARIA (19 November)

The 2001 cereal crop is estimated to be close to last years level at just over 5 million tonnes. The weather throughout the season remained very variable across the country and generally far from favourable, especially in the major producing areas. The estimate of the 2001 wheat output remains at about 3.5 million tonnes, slightly up from last year. Regarding the summer maize crop, however, latest indications point to a sharp decline in output due to drought at the most critical time during the growing season. The early outlook for winter cereal planting is reported to be favourable, with planting pace as of late October pointing to a likely overall increase in the wheat and barley area. However, the final outcome is somewhat uncertain, as many areas remain affected by less than adequate moisture and farmers availability of cash remains limited after two years of drought-affected crops.

CROATIA (19 November)

Cereal harvest this year is satisfactory at about 3.1 million tonnes, which is about 700 000 tonnes higher compared to last year. This year’s output includes 912 000 tonnes of wheat, 2 million tonnes of maize and 165 000 tonnes of barley, which compares with 929 000 tonnes of wheat, 1.3 million tonnes of maize and 151 000 tonnes of barley in the previous year. Cereal exports this year is seen at about 320 000 tonnes, which includes 170 000 tonnes of maize and 150 000 tonnes of wheat.

CZECH REPUBLIC (19 November)

The latest estimate of 2001 cereal harvest in the Czech Republic is about 7.3 million tonnes, about 12 percent up from last year and the largest crop since 1991. Increased plantings and generally favourable weather conditions through the growing season are the main reasons for the increase.

ESTONIA (5 November)

Grain production in 2001 at 617 000 tonnes is similar to the harvest in 2000 and includes 140 000 tonnes of wheat, 275 000 tonnes of barley, 100 000 tonnes of oats and 60 000 tonnes of rye. Cereal import requirement for the 2001/02 (July/June) is estimated at 247 000 tonnes, which is slightly more than the previous marketing year and includes 140 000 tonnes of wheat, 60 000 tonnes of maize and 30 000 tonnes of barley.

FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA (19 November)

In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, continuing dry weather in 2001 has reduced cereal output further from last year’s already low level. Aggregate output could fall well below 500 000 tonnes with wheat accounting for about 200 000 tonnes, barley 100 000 tonnes and maize 100 000 tonnes. For the 2001/02 winter grain season, some 4 500 families in the crisis-stricken regions of western Macedonia will receive free-of-charge 150 kg of wheat seed and 150 kg of fertilizers each through a donation of the FAO.

HUNGARY (19 November)

The 2001 cereal output has recovered significantly, by about 4.5 million tonnes, to 14.6 million tonnes. Wheat output is estimated at about 5 million tonnes, compared to the drought- reduced crop of 3.7 million tonnes in 2000, while that of maize is estimated to have recovered to about 7.5 million tonnes from the reduced crop of less than 5 million tonnes last year.

LATVIA (5 November)

Grain harvest is complete and total output is estimated at 894 000 tonnes from an area of 420 000 tonnes, which is similar to the 2000 area under grains. The output for 2001 includes 390 000 tonnes of wheat, 260 000 tonnes of barley and 120 000 tonnes of rye, which compares with the 2000 harvest of 400 000 tonnes of wheat, 255 000 tonnes of barley and 130 000 tonnes of rye. Winter planting has begun and is expected to be similar to last year’s area under grains.

LITHUANIA (6 November)

The 2001 grain harvest is estimated at 2.5 million tonnes, about 200 000 tonnes less than the 2000 harvest. Cereal harvest this year includes 0.98 million tonnes of wheat, 0.9 million tonnes of barley and 400 000 tonnes of rye. During the 2001/02 marketing year, cereal exports are estimated about 130 000 tonnes of cereals mainly wheat (100 000 tonnes) and rye (20 000 tonnes), while cereal import requirements are estimated at 61 000 tonnes.

MOLDOVA (5 November)

Grain harvest in 2001 is estimated at 2.6 million tonnes, which is about 600 000 tonnes in excess of the harvest in the preceding year and nearly 200 000 tonnes higher than the average harvest of the past five years. Grain production this year includes 1 million tonnes of wheat, 1.2 million tonnes of maize and 260 000 tonnes of barley. The country remains a net importer of grains, mainly food grade wheat (20 000 tonnes) and some rice (6 000 tonnes).

POLAND (19 November)

In Poland, wheat output is estimated at 9.4 million tonnes, some 10 percent up from 2000 reflecting improved weather conditions after drought last year. The country's important rye crop has also recovered significantly to over 5 million tonnes, compared to just 4 million tonnes last year, and barley output is put 22 percent up at about 3.4 million tonnes. In aggregate, total cereal production is estimated at about 26 million tonnes, some 16 percent up from 2000 and above the average of the past five years.

ROMANIA (19 November)

In Romania, cereal output has risen sharply after the drought- reduced crops in 2000. Latest estimates put wheat production at 7.8 million tonnes, more than 3 million tonnes up from 2000, while that for maize rose by more than 2 million tonnes to about 6.5 million tonnes.

RUSSIAN FEDERATION (3 November)

Grain harvest in 2001, estimated at some 82 million tonnes, is significantly higher than the 2000 harvest and the average production levels of the past five years at just over 71 million tonnes. This year’s production includes 43 million tonnes of wheat, 19.6 million tonnes of barley, 6 million tonnes of rye and 8 million tonnes of oats, which respectively compares with 38, 15.4, 5.9 and 6.5 million tonnes in 2000. Maize production has declined to about a million tonnes in 2001 compared with 1.5 million tonnes in 2000 due to prolonged hot and dry weather in July/August and rainy weather in October.

Winter planting has been progressing at a good pace, though dry weather conditions and late harvest of spring crops have affected some parts of southern Russia. However, the government plans to significantly increase area sown to winter cereals, in particular wheat and barley.

Russia is set to become a net exporter of cereals this year with total cereal exports expected to reach nearly 3 million tonnes compared with 1.2 million tonnes in 2000/01 marketing year (July/June). Cereal imports in 2001/02 marketing year are forecast at 2.7 million tonnes, which is similar to the previous year. Maize accounts for 1.2 million tonnes of the total imports mainly due to reduced production and a surge in poultry industry, which has caused a sharp rise in demand for maize. Wheat exports may reach about 1.4 million tonnes this year compared with only 700 000 tonnes in the previous year. Barley export in 2001/02 marketing year is set to reach 1.5 million tonnes, about 1 million tonnes more than the preceding marketing year.

Civil conflicts in Chechnya have intensified during the past few months further deteriorating living conditions and compromising crop production. Many people continue to depend on WFP and international NGOs for basic and complementary food assistance. Currently WFP is providing emergency food aid to about 280 000 people in Ingushetia and Chechnya. This programme is expected to continue until the end of December 2002. By then about 56 500 tonnes of food aid would have been distributed to some 310 000 internally displaced and poor food insecure persons in the North Caucasus.

SLOVAK REPUBLIC (19 November)

In the Slovak Republic, aggregate cereal output is expected to exceed 3 million tonnes. Of the total, wheat is expected to account for about 2 million tonnes.

THE UKRAINE (3 November)

Grain production in 2001 is estimated at 36.3 million tonnes, which compares with 25.4 million tonnes in 2000 and 29.8 million tonnes average for the past 5 years. This year’s production includes 19.9 million tonnes of wheat, 8.8 million tonnes of barley, 3.3 million tonnes of maize and 1.6 million tonnes of rye. In 2000 wheat harvest amounted to 11 million tonnes, barley to 6.9 million tonnes, maize to 1.8 million tonnes and rye to 966 000 tonnes. The significantly higher production this year is mainly due to higher yields and some increase in area under wheat. Average cereal yield this year amounted to 2.6 million tonnes per hectare compared with 1.9 million tonnes per hectare in 2000.

Exceptionally dry weather conditions have hampered winter planting campaign, in particular in the southern parts of the country. Official estimates indicate that winter cereal production in 2001/02 marketing year may be significantly lower than this year’s harvest.

Ukraine is set to export about 6.2 million tonnes of cereals in 2001/02 marketing year (July/June) compared with 1.7 million tonnes the previous year. Cereal imports are seen to decline from 858 000 tonnes in 2000/01 marketing year to 210 000 tonnes this marketing year. Wheat and barley are the most important export cereals accounting for 56 percent (3.5 million tonnes) and 32 percent (2 million tonnes) of the total exports, respectively.

YUGOSLAVIA, FED. REP. OF (SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO)* (5 November)

Cereal harvest in 2001 witnessed a sharp recovery reaching about 8.8 million tonnes compared with the drought and conflict affected harvest of 5.2 million tonnes in the preceding year. An FAO/WFP crop and food supply assessment mission, which visited Yugoslavia (Republic of Serbia) in late June 2001, estimated production at 2.9 million tonnes of wheat, 5.5 million tonnes of maize and 303 000 tonnes of barley. Given the current estimated domestic utilization and production, cereal exports for 2001/02 marketing year is estimated at 700 000 tonnes, including 400 000 tonnes of wheat and 300 000 tonnes of maize.

Yugoslavia had planned to sow about 1 million hectares to winter crops, including 750 000 hectares to wheat. However, rainy weather conditions have so far hampered the planned sowing campaign, as a result the expected increase in cropped area may not be fully achieved. In addition, lack of sufficient mineral fertilizers and seeds may compromise yields in the ensuing cropping season.

WFP has extended its emergency food assistance programme, which will continue to decline in keeping with the Government’s ability to finance its social welfare sector. WFP currently assists some 445 000 beneficiaries, of which 160 000 are refugees and 285 000 social cases.

NORTH AMERICA

CANADA (19 November)

Canada’s output of cereals in 2001 has fallen sharply. In Alberta and Saskatchewan, yields were well below average, due to drought, while in Manitoba, yields were also below normal, but due to excess moisture. Aggregate wheat production in 2001 is now officially forecast at 20.7 million tonnes, slightly below that reported in September, about 23 percent down from last year and well below the average of the past five years. The latest forecast of aggregate coarse grain production in 2001 is put at 22.5 million tonnes, about 8 percent down from 2000 and also well below the five-year average. In eastern Canada, late autumn rains are reported to have held up planting of the small winter wheat crop.

UNITED STATES (19 November)

The November USDA crop report put the 2001 aggregate wheat (winter and spring) output at 53.3 million tonnes, 12 percent down from 2000 and about 17 percent below the average of the past five years. As of 11 November, planting of the winter wheat crop for harvest in 2001 was reported to be 96 percent complete, about normal for the time of season. However, the condition of the emerging crops is reported to be suffering because of drought conditions throughout the wheat plains. Crop condition ratings in mid-November were reported to be the poorest on record for the time of the season. More moisture is needed soon for early development of emerging crops as if plants are not strongly established before the onset of dormancy then the crop could be more susceptible to winter kill.

As the coarse grains harvest draws to a close in the main producing states, latest estimates point to a larger output this year than previously expected. The USDA's November forecast put aggregate coarse grain production at about 264 million tonnes, up about 7 million tonnes from the September report but still about 10 million tonnes down from last year’s bumper crop. Of the total, maize is expected to account for about 242 million tonnes, compared to 253 million tonnes in 2000. By 11 November it was reported that, 91 percent of the maize crop had been harvested, slightly behind last year’s pace but about average for the time of year.

OCEANIA

AUSTRALIA (19 November)

In Australia, harvesting of the 2001 wheat and small coarse grains crops is underway under generally favourable conditions. The most recent official forecast dates from early September when ABARE forecast 2001 wheat output at 20.1 million tonnes, about 5 percent below the previous year. Since that forecast was issued the outlook is reported to have improved in some parts, but deteriorated in others. In Western Australia, where harvesting conditions are reported to be excellent, recent traders forecasts point to a bigger output for the region than was expected in September. By contrast, in New South Wales, persisting drought has continued to stress crops and late frosts are reported to have caused significant damage in some parts, which will pull yields down yet further. FAO’s latest forecast puts aggregate cereal output in 2001 at about 32 million tonnes, similar to last year’s crop but below the average of almost 33 million tonnes over the past five years.

COOK ISLANDS (1 November)

Abnormally dry weather has been affecting the country for the last six months. Some recent rains have helped alleviate the situation, but water supply levels are still reported low because of low rainfall. The wet or hurricane season, however, is about to start and an improvement in water availability levels is expected.


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