COSTA RICA (1 February)
Harvesting of the 2001/02 second season cereal crops has been virtually completed under normal weather conditions. A below-average maize output has been collected, partly as a consequence of the dry spell which affected the first season crops. Production of paddy in 2001 is provisionally estimated at 289 000 tonnes compared to the previous year’s volume of 351 000 tonnes. This is largely the result of reduced plantings aggravated by adverse weather conditions.
Wheat imports in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are expected to be about 200 000 tonnes, while maize imports are anticipated to be about 560 000 tonnes, mostly yellow maize. Rice imports in marketing year 2002 (January/December) are forecast to be about 50 000 tonnes, closely similar to the volume imported in 2001.
CUBA (1 February)
The country is still recovering from the impact of Hurricane “Michelle” in November last year, which seriously affected the provinces of La Habana, Matanzas and the Isla de la Juventud, causing severe damage to food (plantains, roots and fruits) and citrus crops in particular. No significant damage was incurred to the cereal crops as the bulk of the first season crops had been harvested. Planting of the 2001/02 second season crops is well advanced for harvesting from April. Early forecasts indicate that maize output from both crops should be an above-average 170 000 tonnes while production of paddy in 2001 is provisionally estimated at 310 000 tonnes, close to the previous year’s volume.
Wheat imports in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) are expected to be close to 1 million tonnes, while the volume of rice to be imported in 2002 (January/December) is forecast to increase from 440 000 tonnes in 2001 to some 470 000 tonnes in response to the population’s strong demand for this important food staple.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (1 February)
Harvesting of the 2001/02 second season coarse grain crops is well advanced, and average maize and sorghum outputs are anticipated. Harvesting of the second season paddy crop has been virtually completed. A bumper paddy crop of about 620 000 tonnes in 2001 is provisionally estimated. Satisfactory outputs of beans, roots and plantains have also been collected.
Wheat imports in marketing year 2001/02 (July/June) should increase from the previous year’s 305 000 tonnes to some 320 000 tonnes, while maize imports, mainly yellow, should be about 700 000 tonnes, reflecting the strong demand from the feed grain industry and trade with neighbouring countries. Rice imports in marketing year 2002 (January/December) are forecast to increase slightly from the 40 000 tonnes imported in 2001.
EL SALVADOR (1 February)
Harvesting of the 2001 second season crops has been completed. Despite satisfactory outturns, production was not enough to fully recover from the drought induced losses to the first season crops. Production of maize, the main cereal, from both crops is estimated at about 565 000 tonnes, far below the 622 000 tonnes and 652 000 tonnes collected in 1996 and 1999 respectively when crops were planted and developed under normal weather conditions. Production of sorghum in 2001 has been a low 149 000 tonnes. Food assistance from the international community is being provided to the most food insecure families who suffered from the drought in the eastern departments of Usulután, San Miguel, Morazán and La Unión, as well as to victims of the earthquakes in early 2001.
GUATEMALA (1 February)
Harvesting of the 2001/02 second season cereal and bean crops has been completed. Good outturns have been collected and some of the losses incurred by drought to the first season crops have been thus partially offset; however, the food supply situation continues to be tight in several of the most drought affected areas, particularly in El Quiche and Jalapa where food assistance from the international community continues to be provided. An increasing number of malnourished children has been reported in the area. The conditions are also difficult for the large number of unemployed and low paid workers from coffee plantations as a result of the crisis affecting the industry caused by the fall in international coffee prices.
HAITI* (1 February)
Harvesting of the 2001 irrigated paddy crop has been completed under normal weather conditions and output for the year is provisionally estimated at a below-average 103 000 tonnes. Average to above-average sorghum and maize outputs respectively have been harvested. The good results have contributed stabilize the food supply situation which had been jeopardized in 2000 and part of 2001 due to the serious drought which had affected the crops during 2000. Notwithstanding, food assistance continues to be distributed to most needed groups, mainly in the poorest areas in the North and North-East of the country. The recent deterioration of the security situation in the country following a failed coup d’etat in December and riots in January could adversely affect the food supply situation in the country.
HONDURAS (1 February)
Harvesting of the 2001/02 second season cereal and bean crops has been completed and outputs for the year are estimated at below-average levels, the result of the severe drought which affected the first season crops. About 500 000 tonnes of maize, the main cereal, have been collected in 2001 which compares to the past 5-year average of 550 000 tonnes and is far from the 658 000 tonnes harvested in 1996 when the crop developed under normal weather conditions. Sorghum output was also a low 60 000 tonnes. The food supply situation continues to be tight in the most drought affected departments of Choluteca, Francisco Morazán, Intibuca, Valle, El Paraiso, Comayagua and El Paraiso and an increase in malnutrition, particularly among children, is expected.
MEXICO (1 February)
Growing conditions are normal for the 2001/02 irrigated wheat crop for harvesting from April, while harvesting of the important 2001 rain-fed summer maize crop has only been completed. Despite difficulties at planting due to moisture deficits, storm rains in the second half of the year benefited the developing maize crops and outputs collected are tentatively estimated at a slightly above average 18.4 million tonnes. A bumper sorghum crop of 6.6 million tonnes was harvested which compares to the past 5-year average of 6 million tonnes.
Maize imports in marketing year 2001/02 (October/September) are expected to be about 6 million tonnes, close to the volume imported in the previous year, while imports of sorghum are tentatively forecast to decline from almost 5 million tonnes to about 4.8 million tonnes.
NICARAGUA (1 February)
Despite satisfactory outturns collected from the 2001/02 second season cereal crops, and anticipated good results from the third season crop (“apante”), aggregate cereal production for the year 2001 is below the average of the past five years. This is principally the result of the severe drought which affected the first season crops and the losses incurred to the second season crops by the heavy rains and flooding brought by hurricane “Michelle” in November. Maize output for the year is provisionally estimated at 272 000 tonnes, below the 295 000 tonnes gathered in the previous year and the past 5-year average of 311 000 tonnes. Production of sorghum was also below average, and the important paddy crop was a low 210 000 tonnes, which compares to a 5-year average of 252 000 tonnes. The food supply situation is expected to continue to be tight for the drought affected rural families, as well as for those employed in coffee plantations, critically hit by the fall of international coffee prices.
PANAMA (1 February)
The 2001/02 maize and paddy crops were particularly affected by the lack of normal precipitation during the second half of the year, and outputs collected declined from those of the year before. For 2001, production of paddy, in particular, was some 22 percent below the previous year while that of maize decreased from 80 000 tonnes to 75 000 tonnes.