FAO/GIEWS - Food Outlook No.4 - October 2001 p. 6

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Current Production and Crop Prospects

Position by Region


Far East: In China, wheat production in 2001 is officially forecast at 93.9 million tonnes, almost 6 million tonnes less than last year and about 16 percent below the average of the past five years. The decline is mainly due to lower than expected yields, particularly of winter wheat, due to severe dry weather conditions in key producing northern areas. In India, wheat output is estimated at an average 68.5 million tonnes, 7 million tonnes lower than last year's bumper crop, mainly due to unfavourable weather conditions in the main producing areas in Haryana and Punjab. Production in Pakistan is also down after last year's good crop and is now estimated at an average 18.7 million tonnes. The decline has been principally due to the severe drought which has affected the rainfed crops in various parts of the country. Aggregate coarse grain production in China is provisionally estimated at 123.7 million tonnes, some 5.2 million tonnes above last year's drought affected crop but well below the 134.5 million tonnes average of the past 5 years. Maize output is officially estimated at 111.5 million tonnes, lower than formerly forecast as a consequence of the early season drought.

The monsoon pattern has been generally favourable so far for this season's paddy crops. In China (mainland), harvesting of the early rice crop was completed at the beginning of August, while it is in progress for the semi-late rice and is due to start in October for the late rice crop. Rainfall in July brought relief to the rice fields in the northeastern provinces, which had endured severe drought during spring. However, dry conditions persisted in the eastern province of Sichuan and in the Jiangsu and Anhui provinces, adversely affecting yields. As a result, the outlook for the country's production in 2001 has been further lowered by close to 6 million tonnes from the previous forecast to 179 million tonnes, substantially less than the revised 188 million tonnes official estimate for 2000 and the lowest level since 1994. Most of the contraction stems from a sizeable reduction in the plantings of the early rice and semi-late rice crops, brought about by falling market prices in the previous two seasons and reduced government support. Further changes in policies are likely to be introduced shortly, with large potential impacts for the rice sector. In particular, a liberalization of the domestic grain and rice markets is currently being considered in all but the poorest production areas, ahead of China's accession to WTO. Under the current proposal, cereal prices would be subject to market forces except in the northeast provinces and in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River where the Government would continue to support producer prices.

The outlook for rice production in Cambodia also worsened in recent months in the wake of dry spells

and flooding that have affected the country since the onset of the season in June. Following reports that about 48 000 hectares had been destroyed and 120 000 hectares adversely affected by the vagaries of the weather, the official forecast for this season's output was reduced from 4.6 million tonnes to 4.3 million tonnes. At this level, paddy production in 2001 would still exceed the 2000 crop by 300 000 tonnes, which is consistent with the government efforts to expand production, especially through the promotion of irrigated paddy crops for cultivation in the dry season. In Viet Nam, heavy floods were reported at the end of August in the Central Highlands and in the Mekong Delta. Their impact on the summer/autumn paddy crop, the last of the 2000 season, was negligible, since harvesting had been virtually completed. Nonetheless, the size of this crop was assessed to be substantially smaller than earlier anticipated, as low farm prices had discouraged planting and fertilizer application, leading to a lower revised estimate of paddy production in 2000. FAO's tentative forecast for the 2001 season, which just started with the planting of the 10-month crop, has also been reduced by nearly 1 million tonnes, to 31.8 million tonnes.

In Pakistan, after severe drought during the first half of the year, the official estimate of this season's rice crop has been lowered to about 5.8 million tonnes, 0.7 million tonnes less than previously anticipated and the lowest level since 1994. Water shortages affected rice plantings in the Sindh region, which accounts, together with the Punjab, for most of the country paddy production. However, abundant rains in June and July have reportedly improved the condition of the new crop, the bulk of which should reach the market in November.

In India, the June-September monsoon rains, which arrived one week early this season, have been assessed as the most abundant in the past five years, both in terms of intensity and geographical distribution. As a result, production is expected to rise by some 2 percent from the previous season to 131 million tonnes, unchanged from the earlier forecast. In Bangladesh, although flooding was reported in August, prospects for the country`s production this year continue to be positive with the crop put at 36.6 million tonnes, 1 million tonnes more than previously forecast. At this level, output in 2001 would match the revised Government estimate for the 2000 rice season, which ended in May with the harvesting of the irrigated Boro crop.

In the Philippines, torrential rains provoked by typhoon "Feria" hit major rice growing regions in June. However, the damage to paddy fields was limited given the early stage of the crop, which had just been planted. Special assistance was also provided in the affected areas to encourage replanting. FAO's forecast for the country's production in 2001 currently stands at 12.8 million tonnes, 200 000 tonnes more than previously reported and the highest on record. The increase is consistent with the expansionary policy

World Cereal Production - Provisional Estimate for 2001

Coarse grains
( . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . million tonnes . . . . .. . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . )
Central America
South America
North America
2 052.9
2 036.4
(1 856)2/
(1 842)2/
Developing countries
1 189.0
1 185.3
Developed countries

adopted by the Government in pursuance of rice self-sufficiency, a goal it aims to achieve by 2004. Abundant precipitation in July improved substantially the outlook for the Republic of Korea paddy crop this season, which had been dampened by the severely dry conditions that prevailed during spring. The official production forecast for this season has been raised accordingly from 7.2 to 7.7 million tonnes, almost 0.5 million tonnes more than in 2000. Rains also brought relief to the Democratic Republic of Korea, which has experienced one of the worst droughts on record. Improved weather conditions, together with a better distribution of basic inputs, have helped raise prospects for this season's paddy production to 1.8 million tonnes. Although this would be a moderate increase compared with the 2000 season, paddy output remains considerably below the levels achieved in the early 1990s.

Flooding in northern Thailand in early August does not appear to have had a major impact on the country's main paddy crop, which is to be harvested between November and December. FAO's production forecast for the 2001 season has been slightly raised and set at 24.1 million tonnes, close to the Government's revised estimate for 2000. In Indonesia, the harvest of the main paddy crop has been completed and the second paddy season is underway. Concerns are rising over the possibility of a recurrence of El Niño weather-related problems by the end of 2001 or early 2002. Moreover, falling farm prices last season have discouraged plantings and led farmers to reduce fertilizer usage this season, with negative impact on yields. Consequently, official forecasts currently put paddy production this season at 50.2 million tonnes, 1.7 million tonnes below the exceptional outturn in 2000. Dry spells could also hinder paddy production in Sri Lanka, where the season is about to commence. Much reduced water availability has already led the authorities to announce a 10 percent year-to-year contraction of the main Maha crop, which will not be harvested until early next year. FAO's forecast for 2001 has accordingly been lowered from 2.8 to 2.6 million tonnes, 0.2 million tonnes less than in the past season.

Favourable growing conditions were reported in Japan as of August, with status of the crop rated above normal in most of the rice districts. Output, however, is still forecast to be down from last year, mainly on account of a decline in plantings, consistent with a 100 000 hectares increase in the paddy land diversification programme announced last year as part of the emergency measures to cut rice surpluses.

Near East: Three consecutive years of drought and insecurity continue to affect agricultural production in several countries of the Near East. In Afghanistan, aggregate 2001 cereal production is estimated at 2 million tonnes, a slight recovery from last year but about 36 percent below the average of the past five years. In Iraq, the 2001 cereal crop, estimated at about 1.8 million tonnes, is about 12 percent below average. Similarly, production was well below average in Jordan and Syria due to drought conditions. In Saudi Arabia, cereal production is estimated at 2.2 million tonnes, similar to last year and the average. In Turkey, by contrast, production fell compared to last year due to adverse weather. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the season's rice crop was affected by lack of precipitation at planting time between May and June and low water availability in dams and reservoirs. As a result, FAO's output forecast has been revised downward from 2.4 to 2.3 million tonnes, similar to the last two year's drought-reduced levels.

CIS in Asia: In the CIS countries in Asia, with the exception of Kazakhstan, water shortages, drought and exceptionally hot and dry weather conditions have severely impacted summer and rainfed cereal crops for the second year in succession. Natural calamities have compounded the effects of chronic economic problems, dilapidated irrigation systems, shortages of agricultural inputs and other structural problems. The worst affected countries are Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Georgia. The food supply position remains tight in Armenia despite significant efforts to increase area under cereals, and in Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan. An FAO/WFP mission to Tajikistan in July estimated total cereal production at 296 000 tonnes, only 63 percent of the 1996-2000 average. In Uzbekistan, cereal output declined from the drought-reduced harvest in 2000 by 13 percent. The worst affected areas in Uzbekistan are Karakalpakstan and Khorzam where most of the summer crops have failed or could not be planted. In Georgia, cereal production this year nearly doubled compared with last year. However, western Georgia suffered crop losses due to drought. In Armenia, cereal production has recovered from a drought-reduced harvest the previous year. But, food supply remains tight as the country largely depends on food imports while economic constraints have compromised the capacity to import. By contrast, Kazakhstan this year has witnessed favourable weather conditions with ample soil moisture and virtually disease and locust free cropping season. FAO tentatively forecasts total cereal output at 11.8 million tonnes from 12.4 million hectares, slightly higher than the improved harvest in 2000. Kazakhstan is seen to export more than 4 million tonnes of wheat in 2001/02 marketing year. Cereal production in Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan is satisfactory and slightly above average.

A marked contraction in rice production this season is foreseen in Uzbekistan, reflecting a resolution adopted by the Government last December to devote less land to rice. In light of the drought which continued to prevail this year, actual plantings did not even reach the reduced Government target, bringing the prospect for production this season down to 64 000 tonnes, compared with 128 000 tonnes last year and an average of over 400 000 tonnes in the 1990s.


Northern Africa: The subregion's wheat production in 2001 is estimated at about 12.6 million tonnes, which is well above the 2000 drought-affected level, and comparable to the five-year average. In Algeria, wheat output is estimated to have reached 2 million tonnes, more than double last year's crop, and well above the average of the past five years. In Egypt, the irrigated wheat crop was slightly above average at 6.3 million tonnes, while in Morocco, production was above average at 3.3 million tonnes, and more than twice the 2000 output. In Tunisia, wheat production improved somewhat from the previous year but was still well below the 5-year average of 1.3 million tonnes, due to two consecutive years of drought, which affected key producing areas. Latest information regarding the subregion's 2001 coarse grain crops indicate that harvesting has been completed in most parts. The aggregate coarse grain output is tentatively estimated at about 9.9 million tonnes, which is well above the 2000 drought-affected crop but some 300 000 tonnes below average. Paddy output in Egypt, the main producer in the subregion, is due to decline this year. Official estimates put the paddy area at 575 000 hectares, somewhat less than previously anticipated and some 10 percent lower than in 2000. The decline reflects the fall in prices that hit producers last season, encouraging them to diversify towards alternative crops. The prospects for output have accordingly been cut by some 200 000 tonnes to 5.4 million tonnes, substantially below the 6 million tonnes harvested in 2000.

Western Africa: Prospects for cereal crops are generally favourable in western Africa. In the Sahel, following regular and widespread rains from July over the main producing areas, harvest prospects are favourable in Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Niger. In The Gambia, Mauritania and Senegal, crop conditions improved following reduced rains in mid-August. During a regional pre-harvest assessment meeting in mid-September, national delegations indicated that above average to record crops are anticipated in most countries of the region. A series of FAO/CILSS Crop Assessment Missions are scheduled in October to estimate 2001 cereal production with national statistical services. In the countries along the Gulf of Guinea, overall growing conditions were also favourable. The output of the first maize crop was normal and prospects for the second maize, millet and sorghum crops are generally good. The cereal output in Sierra Leone is expected to exceed last year's level due to increased area planted and improved conditions for input distribution. Favourable weather conditions have improved the outlook for paddy crops, some of which are already being harvested. Upward adjustments have been made to FAO's production forecasts for a number of countries, including Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone, all of which should record a moderate increase compared with last year. In the latter two countries, the rise is largely a result of a return of farmers to their fields, together with improved availability of inputs. Production gains are expected to be particularly pronounced in Mali, following a large increase in plantings. Prospects for Nigeria are also bright, with an expected 6 percent increase from last year's revised output of 3.3 million tonnes.

Central Africa: Growing conditions are favourable so far in Cameroon and the Central African Republic. The security situation has improved in the Republic of Congo following the peace agreement but food production has not yet recovered. In the Great Lakes regions, civil strife persists in the Democratic Republic of Congo, pointing to another reduced cereal harvest.

Eastern Africa: Harvesting of the 2001 wheat crop has been completed in Sudan. Latest estimates indicate an output of about 303 000 tonnes, 41 percent above last year's crop but below the average of the past five years. In Kenya, prospects for the wheat crop are favourable reflecting adequate rains in the main growing areas. Similarly, in Ethiopia, good rains in the main growing areas in the past months have favoured establishment and development of the wheat crop. Harvesting of the 2001 coarse grain crops is almost completed in the southern countries of the subregion, while in northern parts harvest is scheduled from November. In Somalia, erratic and below-normal rains in the main growing areas in the south have affected crops. Preliminary forecasts point to a sorghum output of about one-third the previous year's "gu" production and less than half of the post-war average. In Kenya, the total output of the maize crop is forecast at 2.7 million tonnes, about 27 percent above the average of the past five years. In Tanzania, latest coarse grains production forecasts indicate an output of 2.98 million tonnes, about 4 percent above last year's crop but 9 percent below average. In Uganda, where harvest of the 2001 first season coarse grains is well advanced, output is forecast to be about average. In Eritrea, despite good main season rains from June, the outlook for coarse grains production in 2001 remains bleak with large numbers of the displaced farmers unable to return to their farms and large tracts of land still inaccessible due to landmines. In Ethiopia, abundant rains in major agricultural areas have improved prospects for the developing main "meher" season crops. The preceding 2001 short rains "belg" crop, has also significantly improved over the last few years affected by severe drought. In Sudan, despite recent floods and pockets of drought affected areas, overall prospects for this year's coarse grains are favourable. The harvesting of the subregion's 2001 paddy crop has been concluded. Overall, production is estimated to have risen by 4 percent, mainly on account of good harvests in Tanzania.

Southern Africa: Latest FAO's estimates of the recently harvested 2001 coarse grains indicate an output of 14.4 million tonnes, one-quarter lower than in the previous year. The main maize crop is estimated at 13.3 million tonnes, a decline of 25 percent from 2000 and 18 percent below the average of the past five years. The subregion's production was affected by a decrease in the area planted and a prolonged mid-season dry spell that sharply reduced yields. The maize output declined in all countries, with the exception of Angola, Mozambique and Madagascar. In South Africa, final official estimates put the maize crop at 7.2 million tonnes, against last year's above average output of 10.1 million tonnes. This is due to a decrease of 17 percent in the area planted and lower yields following dry weather. However, grain quality is reported to be high. In Zimbabwe, maize production was estimated by an FAO/WFP Mission at 1.5 million tonnes, 28 percent below last year's level and well below average. This mainly reflects a decline of 54 percent in the area planted on the large-scale commercial farms, as a result of disruptions by land acquisitions activities. In Malawi, latest production estimates have been revised downwards to 1.71 million tonnes, one-third or 788 000 tonnes lower than in 2000. Excessive rains throughout the country adversely affected production. Heavy rains during the season also reduced the maize crop in Zambia, where FAO's preliminary estimates point to a crop of 950 000 tonnes, 28 percent lower than last year's crop. In Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia coarse grain outputs, adversely affected by prolonged dry weather, are estimated to have declined 57 percent, 46 percent and 24 percent respectively from last year. In Swaziland, the coarse grain harvest remained at the very reduced level of 2000.

The outlook for the 2001 wheat crop to be harvested from next month is satisfactory following an increase in plantings and adequate irrigation water supplies. FAO's preliminary forecast indicates an output of 2.6 million tonnes, 4 percent higher than last year. In South Africa, production is forecast at 2.2 million tonnes, 5 percent above the level of 2000. In Zimbabwe, production is expected to increase by 10 percent to 275 000 tonnes, reflecting a 14 percent expansion in the area planted. However, renewed hostilities in the commercial farms, which account for the total wheat production, could disturb agricultural activities and adversely affect the final outturn. The 2001 rice season is over, with production estimated to have mostly recovered in Madagascar and Mozambique after last year's reduced levels due to adverse climatic conditions.

· Central America and the Caribbean

Harvesting of Mexico's autumn/winter wheat crops was completed in July. Spring/summer wheat crops are now maturing and their harvest is due to start shortly. Wheat production in 2001 is provisionally forecast at 3.2 million tonnes, which is slightly below average. Harvesting of Mexico's spring/summer coarse grain crops started in September and planting of the irrigated autumn/winter maize crop, which accounts for 20 percent of annual maize production, starts in November. Provided normal weather conditions prevail, maize production in 2001 is anticipated to reach 19.2 million tonnes, a 16 percent increase from last year's drought affected crop. Sorghum production is also forecast to increase 8 percent from last year. In other Central American countries, harvesting of first season coarse grain crops is complete and planting of second season crops is underway. A dry spell in June and July dampened earlier forecasts of a normal crop, and production in 2001 is anticipated to be 2.4 million tonnes, similar to last year's drought affected crop and some 8 percent lower than the average of the past five years. The countries most affected by the drought are Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. The rains resumed in August throughout the subregion and the outlook is favourable for the second season crop.

Harvesting of the 2001 paddy crop in the region has begun. Despite a timely arrival of rains in May, several Central America countries were subsequently hit by a long dry spell in June and July, the critical period for the crop vegetative development. El Salvador was particularly affected, with losses resulting in a 44 percent downward revision of output this year. Erratic or insufficient rainfall has also adversely affected paddy production in Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama, all of which are expected to record a decline in output, compared with 2000.

· South America

Planting of wheat was virtually complete in September in Argentina, Brazil and Chile, the main producers of the subregion. Following increased plantings, low temperatures and moderate rains are helping the development of the crop, and a bumper harvest is in prospect, provided favourable conditions continue to persist. Total wheat production in South America is provisionally forecast at 24.2 million tonnes, 18 percent higher than last year's average crop. Argentina, the largest producer, is forecast to obtain 18 million tonnes, some 9 percent higher than last year's level, while Brazil could double its 2000 output and produce 3.4 million tonnes. In Chile, despite delayed plantings by intensive rains in June and July, wheat production is forecast at 1.78 million tonnes, 22 per cent higher than average of the past five years.

The coarse grain crops harvested in April/June in the MERCOSUR countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) is estimated at 64.3 million tonnes, 16 percent higher than last year. Maize production in Brazil has been revised upwards to 41.4 million tonnes following a good second season maize crop (safrinha). In the Andean countries, in Ecuador the maize crop benefited from a normal summer weather, although drought affected crops in the highlands of Pichincha and Azuay. In southern Peru, a strong earthquake in June damaged the irrigation infrastructure and compromised the water supply of the forthcoming summer crops campaign. In Bolivia, water reservoir levels are adequate for the needs of the forthcoming irrigated summer crops. In Colombia, weather conditions of recent months have been adequate for the normal development of crops, while in Venezuela, dry and very dry weather conditions have moderately affected white maize crops currently being harvested.

Harvesting of the main paddy crops has been completed in most of the region. Although the aggregate paddy output is estimated to have fallen by 5 percent to 19.9 million tonnes from last year, this would be 0.2 million tonnes above the previous forecast, reflecting upward revisions in several countries. In particular, official figures for paddy area and yields in Argentina were raised, bringing output in 2001 up from 640 000 tonnes to 750 000 tonnes, still substantially lower than the past season. Upward adjustments in 2001 production were also made for Colombia, Peru and Uruguay. By contrast, the production figure for Brazil has been officially lowered following a recent crop assessment mission by Conab. Production estimate for the country now stands at 10.4 million tonnes, 9 percent smaller than in 2000, with the decline imputable to the low prices received by producers in the past two seasons.

North America

In the United States, the September USDA Crop Production report put total wheat production in 2001 at 54.2 million tonnes, some 10 percent down from the previous year and well below average, mostly reflecting a further decline in plantings to the smallest area since 1971. As of mid-September, the winter wheat planting for the 2002 crop was well underway in some southern states and the overall planting pace was slightly ahead of normal reflecting favourable conditions. In Canada, prospects for the 2001 cereal crops deteriorated significantly during July and August due to drought in the main producing areas. As of late August, the winter wheat harvest was well underway and yields so far are reported to be well below average. Latest official estimates now put the aggregate wheat output in 2001 at 21.5 million tonnes, 23 percent down from last year's good crop and below average, despite a similar area sown.

The 2001 maize harvest in the United States was just getting underway as of mid-September. Aggregate coarse grains output in 2001 is now forecast at 256.5 million tonnes, 10 million tonnes down from the forecast in the previous report and about 7 percent down from 2000. Of the total, maize would account for 235 million tonnes, compared to 253 million tonnes a year earlier. Barley output is also expected to be down, by more than 1 million tonnes, to 5.7 million tonnes, but the sorghum crop is forecast to increase, by about 1.7 million tonnes, to 13.6 million tonnes. In Canada, barley plantings were reduced and yields are estimated to be down. As a consequence, the 2001 crop is estimated well below last year's and the average at just 11.6 million tonnes. By contrast, an increase in the maize crop is forecast, by over 20 percent, to about 8.4 million tonnes.

By mid-September, about half of the paddy crop had been harvested in the United States. Latest government estimates put the crop at close to 9.4 million tonnes, up from the previous forecast of 8.4 million tonnes, with the bulk of the increase corresponding to long grain rice. At that level, output would outstrip by 8 percent the previous year outcome and reach an all time high.


In the EC, rain showers and warm temperatures in late August and early September have been favourable for the summer maize crop but caused some disruptions to small grains harvesting, which is still not complete in some parts, particularly in the north. Latest information continues to point to a smaller aggregate cereal harvest for the Community in 2001 of 204 million tonnes, compared to 217 million tonnes last year. Total wheat production is now estimated at about 93 million tonnes, 4 million tonnes down from the 97 million tonnes forecast before the summer, and almost 13 million tonnes less than the 2000 crop. The bulk of the decrease in wheat output has occurred in France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy due to a combination of reduced plantings and adverse weather. With regard to coarse grains, the forecast of the Community's aggregate output in 2001 has been revised upward slightly over the past two months, to about 109 million tonnes, similar to the previous year's level. The latest revision mostly reflects the relatively favourable weather conditions for the summer maize crops in recent weeks. The good yield prospects for maize, and the increased area sown are expected to lead to an almost 5 percent increase in maize output, while outputs of barley and oats are expected to be down this year. Harvesting of the 2001 paddy crops is underway in the Community. The forecast for this season's output has been revised upward and now points to a 8 percent increase from last year's depressed level. The rise mainly reflects an expansion in Spain and Italy, due to increased plantings and better weather conditions respectively than in the previous season.

Elsewhere in Europe, the 2001 cereal crops have generally recovered from the drought-reduced crop last year after weather conditions returned closer to normal. Conditions have been particularly favourable in the northern countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, but further to the south harvesting of the winter wheat crop was disrupted in several parts of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Hungary and Romania due to excessive rainfall in June. The summer rainfall was, however, beneficial for the spring-planted maize crop.

The 2001 cereal harvest in the Czech Republic is estimated to reach 7 million tonnes in 2001, 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. In Hungary wheat production is now estimated at about 5 million tonnes this year, compared to 3.7 million tonnes in 2000. However, it is reported that a period of heavy rainfall during harvest has brought down the quality of much of this year's crop and the percentage of feed wheat in the overall harvest is larger than normal. Maize output this year is expected to exceed 7 million tonnes, after a reduced crop of less than 5 million tonnes last year. In aggregate the 2001 cereal output is expected to exceed 14 million tonnes, one of the largest crops in the past decade. In Poland, where crops have also recovered after drought last year, the total wheat crop is estimated at 9.4 million tonnes, some 10 percent up from 2000. 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 29 percent up at about 3.6 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. 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.

In the Balkans countries, the outlook for crops is somewhat mixed. Although weather conditions generally improved over the area as a whole, after last year's widespread drought, predominantly dry conditions again this year continue to affect cereal production in some areas. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, floods and hail in late June affected wheat and maize crops, thus output is expected to remain close to 1 million tonnes, similar to the drought-reduced harvest in 2000. In Bulgaria, where weather conditions, and thus crop yields, have been very varied across the country, the 2001 wheat output is now tentatively estimated at about 3.5 million tonnes. Regarding the summer maize crop, there is uncertainty over the final area to be harvested after drought wiped out some areas again this year but, overall, final output could be slightly up from last year at about 1.1 million tonnes. In Croatia, cereal output is estimated at 3.1 million tonnes compared with 2.4 million tonnes in 2000. In the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, cereal production is estimated to have risen by almost 69 percent in 2001, to 8.8 million tonnes, compared with 5.2 million tonnes in 2000. Apart from improved weather, increased availability and access to inputs contributed towards increased yields. 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 below 500 000 tonnes with wheat accounting for about 200 000 tonnes, barley 100 000 tonnes and maize 100 000 tonnes. In Romania, the latest official estimate puts the total 2001 wheat crop at 7.8 million tonnes, more than 3 million tonnes up from 2000 as a result of increased plantings as well as much more favourable weather conditions. Some unofficial sources indicate that the wheat crop may not be quite this large but, nevertheless, all quote figures representing an increase of at least 50 percent from the previous year. The summer maize crop has again been affected by dry conditions, which set-in from early July. However, apart from the most affected areas in southeastern parts of the country, the damage has not been as large as last year when drought affected the entire cropping season. Unofficial estimates put the maize crop at about 6 to 7 million tonnes this year compared to just 4.2 million tonnes in 2000.

In the Baltics, the outlook is for generally above average harvests. The aggregate cereal output in the three countries could reach 4 million tonnes similar to the good harvest collected last year, including 1.5 million tonnes of wheat and 2.6 million tonnes of coarse grains.

In the CIS countries west of the Ural Mountains (Belarus, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine), a sharp increase in cereal production is in prospect, mainly due to favourable weather conditions and improved availability of farm inputs. The Russian Federation is expected to produce nearly 73 million tonnes of cereals from about 47 million hectares of land (2000: 70 million tonnes, 45 million hectares). At this level, the aggregate cereal output, which includes 40 million tonnes of wheat (2000: 38 million tonnes) and 32 million tonnes of coarse grain (2000: 31.6 million tonnes), would be above the 1995-2000 average but still below the production levels prior to 1995 when the Russian Federation was a significant cereal exporter in the world market. Ukraine is set to produce some 30.8 million tonnes of cereals, nearly 8 million tonnes more than in 2000. Of the total, wheat is expected to account for 17.9 million tonnes (2000: 11 million tonnes) from an area of 6.7 million hectares (2000: 5 million hectares) and 12.8 million tonnes of coarse grains (2000: 11.9 million tonnes). Cereal production in Belarus is expected to reach 4.7 million tonnes (2000: 4.5 million tonnes), including 750 000 tonnes of wheat and 4 million tonnes of coarse grains. In Moldova, cereal output this year is expected to increase by about 500 000 tonnes from just over 2 million tonnes in 2000. The estimate of this season's rice production in the Russian Federation has been reduced following the release of lower official estimates for plantings. As a result, the output forecast is now set at 460 000 tonnes, 65 000 tonnes less than last anticipated and some 20 percent below the bumper crop achieved in 2000.


In Australia, favourable rains in July and August improved prospects for the winter cereal crops after a prolonged period of dry weather during the latter stages of planting and the establishment period. Latest official forecasts tentatively put the 2001 wheat crop at 20.1 million tonnes, compared to 21.2 million tonnes in 2000. The latest forecast is based on significantly smaller yields than those projected at the onset of planting. Regarding barley, the second most important winter cereal crop, output is forecast to increase marginally to 5.9 million tonnes, about 6 percent up from last year, as a result of expanded area. Barley has an extended planting window and is normally favoured by farmers when the planting season is late as in the case of this year. The latest assessment of the rice crop in Australia, which has been already gathered, confirms a record harvest, as abundant water supplies and ideal growing conditions respectively boosted plantings and yields this season. Based on the latest estimate, production would be 60 percent above 2000.

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